The Bank of Thailand, the nation's central bank, said Friday that it is starting a pilot study of a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The central bank said in an announcement that it "deems it necessary to extend the scope of retail CBDC development to a pilot phase." However, it also reiterated its stance that it doesn't have plans to issue a retail digital currency.
Vachira Arromdee, a deputy governor at the bank, noted in the release that central banks around the world were seeing "the potential of retail CBDC as being the foundation of the future financial system."
The latest pilot program would be in addition to previous wholesale CBDC projects and the proof-of-concept study for a retail CBDC that were conducted with help from private companies.
The pilot phase will test real-life application of a retail CBDC and will be conducted with the support of the private sector. This will help the Bank of Thailand form related policies and improve the CBDC design, the announcement said.
The first of two tracks of the study will assess "the system's efficiency and safety" by "conducting cash-like activities, such as paying for goods and services, within limited areas and scale of approximately 10,000 retail users selected by the bank."
This first track is expected to begin at the end of 2022 and last until mid-2023.
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