South Korea, arguably amongst the world’s most crypto-friendly nations, may soon see a central-bank issued cryptocurrency based on a May 3, 2018, report.
South Korea Aiming to Become a Cashless Society
According to The Korea Times, The Bank of Korea (BoK) is conducting a study in the field of digital assets and further intends to introduce clear-cut regulatory standards pertaining to the sector. Alongside this, the bank confirms the launch of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) before July 2018.
As per the bank:
“A taskforce has been studying the possibility of issuing a CBDC and how digital currencies will influence the country’s overall financial sector since January. We will announce updates on this issue by the end of June.”
However, the bank maintained that it is carefully treading the digital assets territory, in accordance with global regulatory sentiments, adding it may be a little “early” to introduce a CBDC.
(Source: Business Korea)
Regulatory Bodies Feel the Heat
The bank’s worries are firmly grounded in reality, as global bodies express concerns over the volatile nature and precise definition of cryptocurrencies.
As noted by Sputnik Asia, authorities remain worried about the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, with a possible destabilization of traditional financial markets in case of widespread adoption.
Earlier on May 1, 2018, local news outlet Business Insider reported the possibility of BoK introducing a “cash-free society” program that centers on blockchain technology and native digital currencies. As mentioned, the project’s most important goals are to reduce the cost of producing fiat money (banknotes and coins), which cost the nation $47 million, or 1.1 percent of its GDP in 2016
Speaking about a cashless society in the near future is Korea-based Shinhan Bank’s Kwak Hyun-soo:
“It can open the underground economy, and thus enhance equivalence in taxation. The shoebox full of 50,000 won banknotes that you see in movies will disappear in reality.”
As reported by BTCManager on April 3, 2018, South Korea’s capital city Seoul is considering the launch of the city’s native token, aptly named the S-Coin. Although specific details of the coin remain unknown, its essential purpose is to fund public welfare programs and pay private contractors.
According to Seoul’s mayor, Park Won-soon:
“Seoul is one of the cities that are leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution. So it’s natural to study and invest in new technologies such as blockchain.”