In addition to a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) project and a proof-of-concept for retail CBDC testing with businesses, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has also expanded the scope of retail-focused CBDC development into a pilot phase. Possible practical applications of a “retail CBDC” would be within the private sector, on a limited scale.
As of August 5th announcement On the official BOT page it is written:
“The BOT will assess the benefits and associated risks of the pilot to develop relevant policies and improve CBDC design in the future.”
The pilot is split into two tracks. In the first phase — the “foundation track” — the CBDC will be tested in cash-like activities that pay for goods and services in a limited area and at a scale of 10,000 retail users. There will be three companies participating in the experiment – Ayutthaya Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and 2C2P. Testing should start in late 2022 and run until mid-2023.
The second phase, known as the “Innovation Track,” will focus on innovative use cases for CBDCs. The private sector and the public will have the opportunity to showcase their retail CBDC use cases through the “CBDC Hackathon,” which will be held from August 5 to September 12, 2022. Selected participants will receive guidance from experienced financial institutions.
At the same time, the BOT does not plan to issue a retail CBDC “because the issuance requires comprehensive consideration” of the risks and benefits of the entire financial system.
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On Aug. 4, Thailand’s financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), issued operating licenses to four digital asset operators, even though Singapore-based exchange Zipmex suspended withdrawals for customers in the country in July. Crypto trading volumes in Thailand surged by nearly 600% in early 2021 as the bull market is gaining momentum.