Today Ethereum development firm ConsenSys announced it would be developing a proof of concept with the Bank of Thailand for a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) or digital Baht. The work will be alongside the Siam Cement Group and its subsidiary Digital Ventures (DV).
DV is known for its successful procure to pay blockchain solution, B2P, which was developed with Accenture and has 6,400 suppliers onboarded. The CBDC solution will be tested for on-chain settlement on the B2P platform.
Until now, Thailand’s CBDC initiative known as Project Inthanon has used R3’s Corda technology and partnered with Hong Kong’s cryptoBLK. So this is a new avenue of exploration. Other central banks, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), have deliberately trialed multiple technologies. But to be clear, the current phase will only use enterprise Ethereum.
At the start of the year, the Bank of Thailand announced results of its cross border CBDC experiments with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) LionRock project. That iteration of the Inthanon-LionRock project was also focused on R3’s Corda, and LionRock will now be working with ConsenSys and Ethereum as announced last month.
In addition to trialing payments for the B2P platform, the Bank of Thailand also previously revealed plans to test the CBDC with retailers.
Charles d’Haussy, Director at ConsenSys commented that the exploration of a retail CBDC “will allow financial institutions and merchants throughout Thailand to enhance the speed and security of their daily payments infrastructure.”
ConsenSys revealed that the CBDC will be issued using ERC-20 smart contracts. That’s the primary standard used for most fungible tokens issued on Ethereum. The solution will use the permissioned enterprise blockchain Hyperledger Besu, as well as ConsenSys’ Codefi and MetaMask, the popular Ethereum wallet. To deliver the solution, ConsenSys is partnering with local blockchain developer Atato.
ConsenSys says it is or has worked with six central banks. We’re aware of this one, Hong Kong, MAS, South Africa and the Banque de France announced yesterday. We’ve either missed one, or there’s another announcement to come.
As with previous CBDC iterations, Project Inthanon will publish a report after completion of its latest experiments.