Bank Indonesia is in the pre-launch stages of releasing a digital rupiah currency and is vetting platforms to see which will suit their needs the best.
As the world sees an increase in digital transactions during the covid-19 pandemic, many countries are beginning to look closer at launching central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
According to research done by the Bank for International Settlement (BIS), more than 85% of central banks are actively researching CBDC, while 60% are testing technology and 14% have moved to start alpha testing these projects. Digital currencies are set to help to modernize these financial systems and significantly speed up international transactions.
Today, Bank Indonesia (BI) became the latest of a long line of central banks to announce their move toward a national digital currency.
As for Bank Indonesia, they have decided to make creating and launching the digital rupiah one of their main priorities, after seeing a spike in digital transactions. According to the statement, transaction frequency on digital banking platforms shot up 60.3%, to more than 570 million in the month of April. BI data shows that value also rose 46%, to around 3,114 trillion rupiahs, which converts to around $217 billion.
Governor Perry Warjiyo stated that “BI plans in the future to issue a central bank digital currency, digital rupiah […] as a legal digital payment instrument in Indonesia.” The governor goes on to say, “We’re also, of course, considering our options on the technology that we will use.”
Asia becoming a hot zone for CBDC pilot programs
Indonesia is not the only Asian Central Bank that has announced intentions to begin working towards a digital currency solution.
Just yesterday, South Korea’s central bank announced its intention to run a series of tests on a CBDC’s functionality and usability. The tests are scheduled to start in August and finish sometime in the middle of 2022. Interestingly, the Bank of Korea stated that their plan is not exactly to release the currency but to instead test its utility.
China is another Asian country that has tossed its hat in the ring of CBDC testing programs. China has done the most testing and have begun to expand their trial program. The trial is not only technical, but also to raise awareness of the project itself. To help garner more attention from testers, each participant will earn a 15% discount for every 100 yuan spend as part of testing.
Japan as well recently announced a committee was forming with the sole purpose of researching state-backed digital currency prospects.
Of course, Asia isn’t the only region that is showing interest in creating its own digital currency. England, Georgia, Norway, and even the United States are just a few banks that are in various levels of research, planning, and testing.