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Thailand launches retail CBDC pilot with 2 banks and Singapore payment service

The Bank of Thailand will launch a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot project in a regulatory sandbox this month. Three payment providers will take part, according to local media. The project will involve up to 10,000 users and run through August.

Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri), Siam Commercial Bank and Singapore-based payments service provider 2C2P will partner with the Thai central bank on the project. Each of those organizations has made an app available to selected users that includes a wallet and a QR code scanner.

The Bank of Thailand announced it was developing a wholesale CBDC in 2018. It participated in the Bank for International Settlements’ mBridge cross-border payment project and Project Inthanon-Lion Rock project with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

In March, the country waived corporate income tax and value-added tax for companies that issue investment tokens. A government spokesman said Thailand could lose about $1 billion in revenue, but it expected investment tokens to generate $3.7 billion over the next two years.

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Central Bank of Chile studies issuance of digital currency

The Central Bank of Chile revealed that it is studying how to issue a national digital currency, the digital peso. The bank issued a report entitled “Issuance of a central bank digital currency in Chile”, where it explores the possibility of creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the future, the mechanism it could use and how it will consult. all sectors of the economy on this issue.

Central Bank of Chile considers CBDC issuance

More banks in Latin America are considering issuing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to take advantage of the different opportunities that may present themselves. The Central Bank of Chile has just released a new report studying the opportunities and disadvantages that issuing a digital peso can bring. The report, entitled “Issuance of a digital currency by the Central Bank of Chile”, also studies the different forms that this currency can take.

The document, prepared by the bank’s payments group, is “framed in a context of increasing digitalization of payments, which has been driven by rapid technological progress and the incorporation of new instruments and players in the payments market”. In this regard, the report concluded that:

Issuing a CBDC would make it possible to leverage the benefits associated with digital transformation, while mitigating some of its risks. In particular, a CBDC could contribute to the development of a more competitive, innovative, integrated, inclusive and resilient payment system.

The report also calls for a deeper analysis of the cost-effectiveness of issuing this currency.

More studies needed

While many central banks around the world are studying and researching the issuance of digital currencies, many have not moved on to the implementation phase. The document needs further analysis and study in this regard, since there are practically no norms or guidelines for good practices on how to proceed in the construction of a project of this type.

Currency digitization can also have unforeseen negative impacts on the national economy, so any future implementation would have to be “carefully scrutinized”. However, the central bank considers that this is the time to face this task and start working on its technical capabilities, and move forward in the development of projects aimed at testing different implementations of the currency.

The bank also indicated that it will continue to consult and maintain an open dialogue with all institutions in the economic area. Brazil and Mexico are other Latin American countries that are also working to establish their own CBDC.

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US Treasury Secretary Yellen says it has not been decided whether the Fed should issue digital currency

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she has not decided whether the Fed should issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC). “There are some benefits” to a digital dollar, Yellen said, but noted that “there are also significant costs.”

Janet Yellen hasn’t decided whether the Fed should develop a digital dollar

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday during an interview at the Reuters Next conference that no opinion has been formed on whether the Federal Reserve should create a digital dollar.

She explained that the decision would require a broad consensus between Congress, the central bank and the White House. The Secretary of the Treasury believes that more study is needed on the advantages and disadvantages of having a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the US, including its effects on the banking system. Yellen opined:

I see pros and cons in doing this. And my own opinion is not based on that.

According to the Atlantic Council’s Center for Geoeconomics, 87 countries (representing more than 90% of global GDP) are exploring a CBDC.

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard has urged the Fed to urgently develop a digital dollar. She said in July that she cannot understand why the United States is not actively developing a digital currency for the central bank when China and other countries are. Brainard is President Joe Biden’s nominee for the position of Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Yellen, who was the 15th chairman of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, said the US central bank is expected to release a report detailing his work on a CBDC soon. She added that the Fed understands that consensus is needed to proceed.

However, the Treasury secretary said the question of whether the Fed should develop a digital currency for the central bank was not discussed “seriously” at the White House, explaining:

This is an important decision and needs consensus. There are some benefits, but also significant costs ... It can work to disintermediate the banking system. And, you know, we have to figure out the pros and cons. I still don't have a view.

Several Federal Reserve governors fail to see the benefits of the Fed issuing a digital dollar, including Governors Michelle Bowman, Randal Quarles and Christopher Waller. “I remain skeptical that a Federal Reserve CBDC would solve the significant problems facing the US payments system,” Waller said recently.

In September, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell shared an update on the progress of the digital dollar study. He insisted that the Fed is not behind other countries in the central bank’s digital currency (CBDC).

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Is the New Zealand government up for the CBDC mission next?

Many state central banks are exploring the possibility of using central bank digital currency. New Zealand is the latest to announce it is exploring the possibility. One of the main advantages is its use as a monetary policy tool.

China has already started tests of its own digital yuan and is trying to eliminate any competition from the country in the form of blanket bans on cryptocurrencies and their mining.

New Zealand is another country that is researching the benefits of these centralized digital currencies. The Royal Bank of New Zealand today released a public consultation document which contains the following statement:

“Trends in the use of cash and monetary innovation offer the Reserve Bank an opportunity to consider expanding central bank money into a widely used digital form. The decline in the use, acceptance, and availability of cash in New Zealand, and the emergence of innovations in private money, namely stablecoins, make it an opportune time to think about a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

According to an article on Bloomberg, the bank admits tremendous complexity in developing such an asset and a long time to do so, but the CBDC would allow people to turn “private money” into a digital bank. . Money.

This would allow the New Zealand currency to remain relevant in a digital future and provide a very useful monetary policy tool for the government. The RNBZ said:

“As with other forms of digital currency, a CBDC must be operationally resistant to cybersecurity risks and disruptions, maintain data confidentiality, and comply with all relevant regulations. Even if a CBDC has the potential to act as a catalyst for innovation and competition in the larger money and payments ecosystem, we need to consider its potential to eliminate innovation. “

In addition, according to the bank, such a currency would improve internal payments and also improve cross-border payments.