The Bank of Thailand is pushing ahead with its central bank digital currency (CBDC) project through a new pilot. The central bank is working with three payment service providers to test the digital baht over the coming months.
On June 12, the Bangkok Post reported that the Bank of Thailand would be testing the CBDC in a regulatory sandbox from June to August.
Thailand CBDC Rollout Nears
Additionally, Krungsri is one of the first financial institutions in Thailand to start testing a retail CBDC. The bank invited staff and around 100 merchants located near its Bangkok headquarters to test the digital currency.
It has set a target of 2,000 participants for the next phase of testing. Participants need to install a mobile banking app and add money to their e-wallet. Then they can transfer it to the “digital baht” CBDC, which is equivalent to 1 THB (approx. $0.028).
Sam Tanskul, managing director of Krungsri Innovate, the bank’s venture capital division, said:
“The bank educated both merchants and staff about retail CBDC before launching the pilot project, and the testing has run smoothly,”
The Bank of Thailand expects the CBDC testing to involve around 10,000 participants in total, the report added.
Thailand is also pushing ahead with a national digital ID system that will likely be linked to retail CBDC wallets when rolled out nationwide. However, this means that it will likely only be available to Thai nationals and not foreigners residing in the Kingdom.
Furthermore, a recent general election in Thailand has seen the majority of the population vote for younger, pro-crypto parties, which have formed a coalition. However, the military-backed ruling junta and elites still maintain a tight grip of control over the government and the anti-crypto central bank.
Global CBDC Outlook
Thailand is among a number of Asian countries pushing ahead with their CBDC ambitions, and China is leading the charge.
However, only eleven countries have actually launched a CBDC, according to the Atlantic Council. Aside from Nigeria, they are all in the Caribbean.
Furthermore, 18 countries, including Thailand and China, are piloting one, mostly in Asia.
Europe and North America have taken a much slower approach, with CBDCs still in the research and development phase.
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