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Thai CBDC pilot succeeds, but no plans to create one

Thai CBDC pilot succeeds, but no plans to create one

In October 2023, a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program by the Bank of Thailand came to an end. It tested a tokenized Thai baht on a centralized ledger and involved 4,000 consumers, 140 merchants and the tech firm Giesecke+Devrient.

While the Thai central bank was happy with the results and thought a CBDC would help promote innovation, it reported that it had no plans to push ahead with a digital baht immediately.

That said, the central bank will open a sandbox for private programmable payments and
tokenization. It will also continue its work with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) on the cross-border CBDC platform mBridge.

Along with testing peer-to-peer and retail payments, the Thai CBDC pilot program allowed the testing of several programmable features, including enabling parents to restrict what their children’s money could be spent on.

Tokenization and programmable money continue full steam ahead

It seems that in the latter half of 2023 and so far in 2024, tokenization has been all the rage. Even Wall Street giant BlackRock (NASDAQ: BLK) is experimenting with it; the tokenization of everything is coming.

In addition to this, the idea of programmable money seems to be finally making its way into the mainstream. In the Thai trial, parents could restrict what their kids could spend digital baht on. Still, it has long been suggested that CBDCs could be used to stimulate specific sectors of the economy and that central banks could program them with expiry dates, use-case restrictions, and more.

Of course, the idea of giving central banks such power hasn’t been met with universal enthusiasm. While few would argue against the idea that welfare payments should be used for food, medicine, and essentials, many argue that giving central banks this sort of control over citizens’ money is a slippery slope to tyranny.

Unsurprisingly, attitudes toward CBDCs vary widely from country to country. While they face the strongest opposition in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, those in developing countries like Nigeria and Indonesia view them in a mostly favorable light.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

Watch: CBDCs are more than just digital money


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