Thai c.bank to test retail digital currency later than planned

Thailand's central bank is seen at the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Thailand's central bank said on Friday it expects to test its retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) for the public in late 2022, later than planned, as an alternative payment option.

The pilot project, previously planned for the second quarter of 2022, will evaluate the use of the CBDC in cash-like activities within a limited scale, deputy central bank director Kasidit Tansanguan told a news conference.

The project will involve transactions such as deposits, withdrawals and fund transfers by financial institutions and around 10,000 users.

After discussions with relevant parties and careful consideration, Thailand will proceed slowly, Kasidit said.

"Thailand can still take a gradual step in the retail CBDC to ensure efficiency and prudence as it does have a problem with fund transfers or payments as some other countries," he said.

The retail CBDC is not to compete with cryptocurrency or stable coins but aimed at reducing financial costs, he added.

A retail CBDC is a digital form of money issued by a central bank comparable to physical banknotes. It can be used in financial transactions both online and offline.

The BOT, however, has said it does not support use of digital assets, such as bitcoin and ether, as payment for goods and services due to risks.

Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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