No need to rush retail CBDC adoption over current payment options, Thai central bank says

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Thailand is not in a hurry to implement the retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) given strong payment alternatives, the Bank of Thailand’s governor said on Thursday.

Citing a real-time online transfer option, Promptpay, as well as payments via QR code, the central bank’s governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said he is satisfied with the success of Thailand’s current retail banking system.

“The need to roll out CBDC is not that high,” he said in an interview with local media TNN during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos, Switzerland. 

Sethaput noted that the central bank will run its trial project to test the use of the retail CBDC for the public in the fourth quarter this year. The project will be carried out on a limited scale, with financial institutions and users conducting deposits, withdrawals, and fund transfers.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Royal Gazette stated that investors who trade cryptocurrencies or digital tokens through registered exchanges, including the retail CBDC of the Bank of Thailand, will be eligible to a 7-per-cent VAT exemption on their transitions. 

The VAT exemption is retroactive from April 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023. The goal of this change is to encourage trading in digital assets through the authorized exchanges under regulations on digital assets.

“Thailand was one of the first countries to explore and experiment with retail CBDC back in 2018,” Sethaput added.

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