Over the past two years, the Asian region has been racing to launch Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), and the Digital Won is the latest to enter a critical stage, per a recent report.
Bank of Korea Partners with Financial Authorities For Digital Currency Trial In an effort to embrace digital currency, South Korea is set to launch a pilot program that will enable 100,000 Koreans to use deposit tokens based on the Central Bank digital currency (CBDC), as reported by the Korean Times. This initiative, a joint operation between the Bank of Korea (BOK) and financial authorities, marks a “significant step” towards integrating digital currency into everyday financial transactions.
The BOK, along with the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), announced this advanced plan during Agustin Carstens’, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements.
This initiative is an evolved version of the initial announcement in October, which highlighted the central bank’s intentions to experiment with CBDC in real-world applications.
Under this pilot project, set to commence in late 2024, selected participants can purchase goods using deposit tokens issued by commercial banks, functioning similarly to vouchers. The recruitment of participants by these banks is expected to happen around September to October of the following year, with the project running for three months.
Digital Won Experiment Aims To “Revolutionize” Transactions And Address Current System Challenges The BOK anticipates that the CBDC could effectively address current challenges faced by existing voucher systems, such as those used during COVID-19 or for government childcare grants. This digital approach could significantly mitigate high transaction fees, slow settlements, post-transaction verification limitations, and fraud concerns.
Participants in the pilot, however, will be limited to using the digital currency exclusively for payment purposes, with other uses like personal remittance currently off the table.
Further technological experiments are planned to assess the feasibility and impact of these new financial products. For instance, the BOK plans to collaborate with the Korea Exchange to incorporate CBDC into a simulation system for carbon emissions trading, testing its effectiveness in real-world scenarios.
Carstens, who met with BOK Governor Rhee Chang-Yong, referred to the initiative as the “digital Won” and lauded the central bank’s steps towards modernizing the monetary system. The pilot, pending consultations and legal reviews, promises to improve the country’s current payment rails and people’s everyday use cases.
As of this writing, Bitcoin (BTC) trades at $37,300 with sideways movement on the daily chart.
BTC’s price trends to the upside on the daily chart. Source: BTCUSDT on Tradingview Cover image from Unsplash, chart from Tradingview
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