The Bank of Korea announced on Monday that it has launched a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program, the Korea Times reports. The decision marks a change in the central bank’s previous “wait and see” position on CBDCs and comes as other major developed nations have started to focus more on researching the technology’s potential.
According to a BOK official:
"The U.S. and Japan had had no plans to issue a CBDC in the near future, but they changed their stance recently to enhance research in the emerging area.”
The 22-month initiative will be primarily led by recently-established BOK digital currency research team. The bank’s plans also include partnering with both internal and external experts to form an advisory group focused on legal and technical concerns and will continue to encourage information sharing with other central banks researching the technology.
While there are no immediate plans to initiate a CBDC launch, the central bank confirmed that it wants to remain proactive to ensure that it can meet any future demand:
"The BOK also decided to remain proactive in the rapid shift in payment environments here and abroad, so we are going to set up the CBDC pilot system and check technical and legal issues surrounding its introduction here.”