The Bank of Thailand (BOT) is extending the scope of retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) development to a pilot phase by the end of 2022. With this, the country aims to assess how the technology would work in its financial system while studying associated risks and benefits.
The pilot is part of a study to assess the suitability of technology, programmability, and design. The official page of the BOT states that the bank will assess the risk and benefits tied to CBDC from the pilot in formulating related policies and improving design in the future.
The retail CBDC will be tested inside the private sector on a limited scale with selected participants. The pilot is segmented into two tracks. In the first one called “Foundation track”, CBDC will be tested in cash-like activities such as paying for goods and services within limited areas and on a scale of 10,000 retail users.
Three major banks will participate in the experiment including the Bank of Ayudhya, Siam Commercial Bank, and 2C2P. The test would be conducted from the end of the year and last until mid-2023.
The second phase dubbed the “Innovation Track” aims to present innovative use cases for CBDC. In this, the private sector and public will be able to demonstrate their use cases for retail CBDC through the “CBDC Hackathon”, which is on Friday, 5th Aug-12th Sept 2022.
Selected participants will get mentorship from experienced financial institutions. Moreover, the Bank of Thailand has no plans to issue a retail CBDC for now as issuance requires thorough consideration and research.
As per the International Monetary Fund, around 100 countries are at varying stages of CBDC development. Most recently, The European Central Bank has recognized CBDCs as a mode of payment across borders over BTC, banking, and stablecoins, among others.