An Indian tech major is helping Thai banks use digital currency while the RBI hangs back

Representation of the Bitcoin virtual currency standing on a PC motherboard is seen in this illustration picture, February 3, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
  • Bengaluru-based Wipro has developed a blockchain-based solution for banks in Thailand.
  • Wipro had partnered with R3, an international consortium working on blockchain technology.
  • This will allow Thailand's banks to settle dues with each other through de-centralised digital currency.
  • The solution was developed for Thailand's central bank and a consortium of 8 commercial banks.
An Indian technology major, Wipro, is now helping eight banks in Thailand to settle dues with each other through de-centralised digital currency.

"Developed as part of the first phase of Project lnthanon, the solution will enable de-centralised interbank real-time gross settlement (RTGS) using wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to prove that the technology can perform key functionalities of payment and enhance efficiency," Wipro's statement on May 7 said.

Project lnthanon is an initiative led by the Bank of Thailand, launched in August 2018. The first phase focussed on rolling out a payment infrastructure, followed by the blockchain initiatives. " The prototype has demonstrated the merits of blockchain technology adoption for making interbank payments more efficient," Krishnakumar N Menon, Vice President and Blockchain Theme Leader, Wipro said.

In April 2018, the Reserve Bank of India revealed its plan to issue a digital currency, CBDC, while forcing a bunch of cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country to shut shop. However, the plan was shelved after three-month long feasibility study; the findings have not been made public.

CBDC is digital money equivalent to – and redeemable for – a country's domestic currency that a central bank can issue. It can choose to simultaneously remove an equivalent amount of physical currency from the system.

There are at least 40 countries, including Singapore, UK, France, Sweden, and Cambodia, where the central banks are working on blockchain technology with various goals, not just digital currencies, according to a recent report from the World Economic Forum. "Blockchain technology could enable new capabilities for central bank processes that have not yet been identified," the report had said.

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