According to an article posted by coindesk.com, the Bank of Korea (BOK) has launched a new pilot program for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) amid concerns other nations could take the lead if it sits on the sidelines. Particularly the efforts in Japan and the United States of America have apparently triggered the South Koreans to speed things up.
During a time when the war on cash may see further acceleration due to the fears of transmitting viral diseases more rapidly via the use of paper money, the efforts by various central banks to launch government issued digital currencies could have been expected.
Using the technological benefits and possibilities of blockchain technology, this evolution seems to be picking up speed.
According to the article, the South Korean central bank said last week (April 6th, 2020) it had reevaluated the CBDC proposal after observing that other developed nations, including neighboring Japan and its close ally the U.S., were moving forward with their own digital currency plans faster than anticipated.
Abandoning their wait-and-see approach, BOK officials have now pushed the central bank into a 22-month pilot program – which started this month – to assess the technical and legal ramifications of replacing physical cash with a digital equivalent.
"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," said an official, speaking to The Korea Times. "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."