Following the adoption of the country’s first cryptocurrency regulation, the central bank of Thailand is working on its own digital currency in collaboration with the country’s largest banks. Initially, the new currency will be used for interbank transfers; this phase is expected to be completely developed by the first quarter of next year.
Thailand’s Central Bank Digital Currency
Thailand’s central bank, the Bank of Thailand (BOT), announced on August 21 its central bank digital currency (CBDC) project called Inthanon.
Eight of the country’s largest commercial banks are participating in this project. They are Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, Kasikorn Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Thanachart Bank, Standard Chartered Bank (Thailand) and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (Hsbc).
Initially, “the concerned parties will jointly design and develop the prototype system of money transfer between institutions by issuing [a] wholesale CBDC” built on R3’s Corda platform, the BOT detailed, elaborating:
The Inthanon initiative will cover the design, development and testing of fund transfers between financial institutions through the use of digital currency…It is expected that the first phase of the project will be completed within the first quarter of 2019.
The central bank noted that its project is similar to those currently in development by other central banks such as the Bank of Canada, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
In the next phase, the participating commercial banks and R3 plan to expand the usage of the digital currency to include third-party fund transfers and cross-border payments.
Thailand Races Ahead With Crypto
Many developments have transpired in the Thai crypto space since the country adopted cryptocurrency regulation on July 16.
The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s main crypto regulator, has legalized sevencryptocurrencies and is currently reviewing applications from companies wanting to operate crypto businesses in the country. According to the regulator, about 50 ICO projects are interested in applying for a license, along with five ICO portals and 20 crypto exchanges.
Meanwhile, seven crypto firms have been approved to legally operate in the country while their applications are pending. Other companies must obtain approval before beginning operations. Furthermore, the central bank has green-lighted commercial banks’ subsidiaries for crypto activities.