Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): South Korea Enters the Race


South Korea’s central bank has indicated its resolve to implement a central bank digital currency (CBDC) at a slow but sure pace.

According to a report by the Korea Herald yesterday, the Bank of Korea (BOK) is working on a virtual environment to allow for the evaluation, control, and testing of various stages of its proposed digital currency.

That said, the bank will split its research efforts into two parts. The first part would be purely theoretical, which would allow the team involved to study the best features of the CBDC, its compatibility with the existing legal requirements, and possible problems that could arise.

The second part would be purely practical and would involve real-time testing, international transactions, and payment facilitation under several real-life conditions.

While the new development brings Korea closer to getting a sovereign digital currency, the authorities are still wary. With the first phase of work scheduled to begin in August, the central bank does not yet have a release date or plans for a launch.

Nonetheless, research should get rounded off in December. That said, successful implementation of phase 1 should open the door for the start of phase 2 in June 2022.

Central Bank Digital Currency Could Replace Korean Won

A BOK official told the Korea Herald that the country could begin using CBDC if proven to be more efficient than cash.

The official noted that:

“We are launching the pilot test to see how CBDC could be used as a form of a safe asset when the share of cash transactions declines significantly.”

The BOK revealed that the Korean government has approved a budget allocation of 4.9 billion won ($4.4 million) for this project.

This development has pushed Korea into the race for the first developed nation to launch a CBDC. China is currently leading the pack and has already distributed millions of digital yuan for real-time testing in several regions.


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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.