Bank of Korea Taps Kakao Blockchain Subsidiary for CBDC Project

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South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea (BOK), has selected Ground X, the blockchain subsidiary of internet company giant Kakao, to work with the BOK on its central bank digital currency (CBDC) project.

Ground X to Build South Korea’s Experimental CBDC

In a report by local news media Korea Joongang on Tuesday (July 20, 2021), Ground X won the bid to be the blockchain partner for South Korea’s digital won. Other bidders included the SK and Naver Affiliate. Ground X will work with Kakao Bank, Kakao Pay, and ConsenSys to participate in the CBDC project. 

The selection follows an open bidding process initiated by the BOK back in May. The central bank was looking for a technology partner to build a pilot platform for its proposed digital won. With Ground X already having its blockchain platform called Klatyn, South Korea’s experimental CBDC may be developed on the chain. 

The BOK has budgeted 4.96 billion won ($4 million) for the digital won project. Back in 2020, the South Korean central bank began a pilot program for its proposed CBDC, scheduled to end in December 2021. 

The BOK later created a committee to research potential regulatory hurdles for its digital won. In May, the apex bank was planning to conduct a mock test to test the functionality of its CBDC project. 

Central Banks Not Slowing Down National Digital Currency Plans

Given the technical requirements associated with creating a CBDC, even an experimental one, selecting a tech partner is often one of the more important milestones in any central bank digital currency project. With Ground X in tow, the BOK appears to be moving forward with its digital won experimentation.

Outside South Korea, other central banks are also closely examining their own CBDC efforts. From Asia to Africa, and even the Caribbeans, apex banks of various nations are in different stages of their CBDC projects.

Earlier in July, the Vietnamese government announced that it was planning to carry out a CBDC pilot. The Bank of Jamaica is also looking to conduct a digital currency pilot later in August. In Africa, the central banks of Nigeria and Ghana are also working on issuing their CBDCs. 

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