Bank of Korea’s (BOK) deputy governor Bae Joon-suk says its central bank digital currency (CBDC) development is “not one step behind that of any other country.” However, South Korea still has no plan to adopt a state-backed digital currency.

Fast facts

  • Bae spoke at Bank of Korea’s online conference on payment and settlement systems yesterday, where he said the country’s CBDC research and pilot program is well under way. In his speech, he compared Korea’s headway in CBDC development to other countries. 
  • “Some countries like the Bahamas have introduced CBDC or are conducting pilot runs, but it needs to be considered that these countries have slow development in payment settlement systems and insufficient financial inclusion,” said Bae, while stressing the country is not lagging behind in CBDC research. 
  • Bae also mentioned that although there is no schedule for the digital currency to be adopted, BOK will have the technology ready to issue it as soon as a decision is made.
  • The research project testing the CBDC’s issuance and circulation started in August 2021, and is expected to finish by June next year after testing CBDC applications such as offline and cross-border payments.
  • South Korean internet giant Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary Ground X is BOK’s partner and supplier for the CBDC research, after a bidding war including the country’s leading IT (information technology) companies such as SK C&C and Naver’s Line Plus.