Thai central bank kicks off digital currency project
Thailand's Central bank has kicked off a project with R3 and eight banks on the development of a digital currency (CBDC) for use in domestic wholesale funds transfers.
The initiative was first revealed in a speech given by Central Bank governor Veerathai Santiprabhob at an industry event in Singapore in June. "Like other central banks, our goal is not to immediately bring CBDC into use, but rather to explore its potential and implications for back office operations," says Santiprabhob. "These efforts should pave way for faster and cheaper transaction and validation due to less intermediation process needed compared to the current systems." Dubbed Project Inthanon, the exploratory pilot will entail the development of a proof-of-concept prototytpe for the use of the central bank-backed currency across R3's Corda platform. Slated for completion in Q1 2019, the project will incorporate key payment functionalities such as a liquidity saving mechanism and risk management into the design and build. States the Bank: "Building upon the findings and outcomes from Phase 1, the project participants aim to further develop the capabilities of the prototype for broader functions including third party funds transfer and cross-border funds transfer." The Thai Central bank's efforts are part of a wider programme of private and public sector applications currently underway in the country. Fourteen of the country's banks operating in conjunction with seven leading businesses and state-owned enterprises are expected to introduce a production-ready project to offer blockchain-based letters of guarantee in the second half of the year. Other blockchain related projects in the pipeline include scriptless bond issuance which would significantly speed up saving bond allocation to retail investors from 15 days to two days, as well as granting more flexibility for bond issuers. "The proof-of-concept of this project is almost complete, and production is expected to begin in the very near future," says Santiprabhob.