FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Thailand

Thailand is developing its digital currency for interbank transactions

‘Project Inthanon’ could accelerate transaction and validation processes.

Thailand’s central bank is in the process of co-developing its own digital currency with the country’s major lenders with which to conduct interbank settlement, Bank of Thailand deputy governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said in a speech to Nomura Investment Forum Asia in Singapore. 

Called 'Project Inthanon, the collaboration aims to explore the use of wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) for its potential implications to back-office operations instead of bringing it immediately for application.

“These efforts should pave way for faster and cheaper transaction and validation due to less intermediation process needed compared to the current systems,” Santiprabhob added.

Also read: Thailand's digital shift to boost banking' revenue

However, he did not disclose any more details. Other blockchain related projects in the pipeline include scriptless bond issuance which is set to accelerate saving bond allocation to retail investors from 15 days to two days.

“All in all, the outlook and prospect of digitalization and regional financial integration look very promising and the Bank of Thailand will continue to facilitate timely development of new financial innovations while also safeguarding financial stability in an efficient and business-friendly manner to ensure a smooth and successful transition of the Thai economy,” he added.

The move comes as fourteen Thailand banks and seven businesses and state-owned enterprises earlier launched the Thailand Blockchain Community Initiative to boost financial services, starting with blockchain-based letters of guarantee.

Also read: How can blockchain unblock Thai banks' trade finance slump? 

“Anything that can improve their [banks] margin like these lower-fee money transfer services, there is no reason for failure,” according to Maybank Kim Eng research analyst Tanawat Ruenbanterng.

“Digital banking is one field that can help improve the margin,” he stressed. “Winners in the next era should be one that can adopt with fast-changing technology. That one should have efficient cost control in order to change/adapt faster.”

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