The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has announced it expects to complete the first phase of a proof-of-concept trial for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) by March 2019.
The Thai central bank said in a release on Tuesday that it has partnered with eight financial institutions in the country in a bid to create a CBDC based on Corda, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform developed by the enterprise-focused consortium startup R3.
The ultimate goal of the effort is to use the digital currency to facilitate interbank transactions and to "enhance efficiency of the Thai financial market infrastructure," according to the announcement.
To assist with the so-called Project Inthanon, the BoT has signed up R3 as technological partner and eight other participating institutions, including Bangkok Bank Public, Krung Thai, Siam Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank (Thailand) and HSBC.
"Project Inthanon Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019 after which the BoT will publish a project summary accordingly," the bank said in the announcement.
The central bank's governor first revealed the initial concept for the project in a speech in June, commenting at the time that the aim is to explore the potential of blockchain in facilitating cross-bank transactions before it can be formally launched at a larger scale.
With the launch of Project Inthanon, the BoT joins a growing group of central banking authorities to have started trialing DLT systems to facilitate interbank and cross-border transactions, including the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Bank of Canada.
The BoT also said in the release that it is currently conducting another DLT proof-of-concept designed to boost the efficiency of government bond sales.
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