The Central Bank of South Korea plans to form a task force dedicated to the study of its own digital currency (CBDC) by hiring experts in the field.
It explicitly reveals this in a document published today on its official website, entitled “Monetary Policy for 2020”:
“The Bank will continue to build on the research into new innovations such as distributed ledger technology, crypto assets, and CBDC, and play an active role as overseer to enhance security of the settlement systems. The Bank will organize a task force dedicated to CBDC research and recruit additional experts. At the same time, it will actively engage in discussions with the BIS and other international organizations, keeping an eye on CBDC development at other central banks”.
The initiative is part of a project to facilitate innovation and improve the country’s payment infrastructure and services, including a new mobile payment service.
The same document also states that:
“In line with rapid innovation in fintech, the Bank will draw up access criteria in a direction that increases the openness of the payment and settlement systems while ensuring security of these systems”.
South Korea is by far one of the countries worldwide where cryptocurrencies are most widespread, hence it is hardly surprising that these have been explicitly mentioned in an official document of the Bank of Korea.
Moreover, the country has already been active in regulating these markets for some time, with its central bank being well aware of these new technologies.
However, the fact that it has decided to set up a task force does not mean that they have decided to develop their own digital currency, but at least it shows that they are seriously considering this hypothesis and are studying it in depth with a research group created specifically for this purpose.
The curious thing is that in early 2019, the Bank of Korea itself had officially declared that it did not intend to issue its own CBDC in the short term, whereas this new decision taken less than 12 months later could suggest a change of perspective.
Perhaps China’s determined efforts in this particular area have led South Korea to review its plans so as to avoid dangerous competition from its uncomfortable and gigantic neighbour, which may be already working on the first tests of a digital currency.
It should not be forgotten that the European Central Bank is also studying in-depth this possibility. This means that countries that wish to be leaders in this field can no longer stand aside.