Bank of Thailand (BoT) Is Developing Its Own Cryptocurrency To "Enhance Operational Efficiencies"

  • Bank of Thailand (BoT) is collaborating with blockchain startup R3 and 8 other banks to develop a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
  • The BoT is also working on a prototype for "scripless government savings bonds" that allow for securities trading without issuing and exchanging physical certificates. 

Thailand’s central financial institution, the Bank of Thailand (BoT), had announced in June that it was exploring a “new way of conducting interbank settlement” by issuing its own cryptocurrency. The BoT appears to have followed up on this plan as its now reportedly working on creating a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

According to an August 21st press release, the BoT will partner with R3, a New York-based blockchain startup, and 8 other local banks to “collaboratively design and develop a proof-of-concept prototype” for its CBDC.

R3’s open-source distributed ledger (DLT) platform will be used to implement the CBDC prototype and the new payment system will aim to facilitate “wholesale funds transfer.”

Improving Future Financial Infrastructure

Thailand’s digital currency initiative is called Project Inthanon and its “outcome and insights...will contribute to the design of [the nation’s] future financial infrastructure”, the press release stated.

Notably, the Inthanon project will be similar to other state-backed digital currency projects currently being developed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Central Bank of Canada.

The press release also noted that the BoT is working on a DLT-based proof-of-concept for securities trading that does not require issuing or exchanging physical certificates. These types of transactions will reportedly be conducted through the sale of “scripless government savings bonds.”

Moreover, phase 1 of the Inthanon project will involve developing and testing a CBDC prototype for “domestic wholesale funds transfer.” During this initial phase, the project’s participants will also be working on improving “key payment functionalities such as [the] liquidity saving mechanism and risk management.”

Faster Cross-Border, Third-Party Funds Transfer

Phase 1 of Thailand’s CBDC project is scheduled to be completed by Q1 2019 and its “findings and outcomes” will be used further enhance the capability of the digital currency prototype to allow for more efficient cross-border payments and third-party funds transfer.

The 8 other banks working with BoT and R3 on Thailand’s digital currency project include the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Siam Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank (Thai), Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, Kasikornbank, and the Thanachart Bank.

Legalizing Cryptocurrencies

Looking at these developments suggests that Thailand’s government believes digital currencies have to the potential to “enhance the operational efficiencies” of its traditional financial system. As CryptoGlobe reported on August 5th, Thailand’s banks were given permission to launch subsidiaries in order to offer brokerage services to crypto-related firms and also invest in blockchain startups.

Earlier in June, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) legalized the buying and selling of seven cryptocurrencies using the Thai baht. These cryptos include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar (XLM), and Ripple (XRP).

BLOC: Reimagining the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

The cryptocurrency sector has become an ironic caricature of nearly everything it once opposed. The former lofty dreams of a decentralized utopia, seem to be inching ever further away as centralization creeps into almost every facet of the industry.

The financial institutions that many cryptocurrencies were designed to subvert are now pined after; with hopes of mass adoption fastened on institutional investment alone. Even the proof of work (POW) mining algorithm, which was designed with egalitarianism at its core, has morphed into an exclusive club, reserved mainly for those with a vast amount of resources.

Luckily, there are a few cryptocurrency projects which place the original ideals of the cryptocurrency space at their foundation, and BLOC is one of them.

What is BLOC?

Billing itself as a private decentralized cryptocurrency, BLOC forgoes the involvement of financial institutions and instead focuses on a broader demographic of everyday users.

In order to achieve this BLOC was developed upon CryptoNote technology, the very same utilized by projects such as Monero and Bytecoin. This nascent underlying mechanism was developed to improve upon issues plaguing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

CryptoNight - an eco-friendly POW algorithm - enables ASIC resistance; leveling the playing field between smaller and larger miners, while negating many of the inefficiencies associated with traditional blockchain-based protocols. CryptoNote also allows for elevated anonymity, and untraceability; displaying only the most pertinent information, such as transaction quantity.

Equality is at the heart of BLOC, and as such, the project has reconceptualized the design of crypto mining. Rather than the traditional, and costly hardware typically affiliated with mining, BLOC harnesses users’ browsers via a range of everyday devices such as a mobile phone, tablet, computer, and even a raspberry pi.

Their mobile app features an ergonomic dashboard UI designed for IOS and Android, with a built-in BLOC wallet and web miner. Their computer-based iteration is just as extensive, configurable for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Best of all, mining doesn't require any work on the user's side; in fact, you can even mine in your sleep.

Banking the Unbanked

BLOC believes that cryptocurrency adoption will only be achieved via accessibility. This is evident through BLOC's mining protocol, as well as its ethos towards financial inclusion for users in developing countries. According to the Pew Research Centre, as of March 2019, of 11 developing countries polled 89% of adults say they owned a mobile phone. However, as of data released by the World Bank in June 2018, there are still 1.7 billion adults worldwide without access to a bank account. BLOC is connecting the dots.

One of the projects within the BLOC ecosystem, which aims to rectify this issue is PayChange. Launching in late 2019, the project allows everyone to become their own bank, enabling fungibility via any cryptocurrency; facilitating all the use-cases of traditional fiat without any of the typical drawbacks. PayChange employs the BLOC.money platform to enable a peer-to-peer type service where users can pay, as well as be paid, in either cryptocurrency or fiat.

Businesses collaborating with PayChange also stand to benefit, tapping into the resources of the bloc.money ecosystem, and its growing userbase receiving a boost to brand awareness.

Using the myriad of existing payment options on the market including Apple Pay and traditional bank transfers, PayChange connects users, and their cryptocurrencies, to the real-world. PayChange doesnt act like a bank or wallet, but as the conduit between exchanges -- such as Coinbase, Binance, and Bitrex -- and user bank accounts, enabling real-time secure payments without the need for expensive and time-consuming intermediaries.

PayChange isn’t confined to the blockchain either. Physical stores where users can buy accessories such as hardware wallets, learn about, and transact cryptocurrencies, will emerge all over the world.

The BLOC ecosystem is forever expanding, aiming to foster its own internal economy with new services and products and expand the reach of the BLOC cryptocurrency. Fundamentally, BLOC is reimagining the original ideals of the cryptocurrency space, turning them to use where they're most required, and in turn, propagating the industry itself.

If you want to be of the new cryptocurrency ecosystem, find out more at bloc.money