Krungsri pioneers Retail CBDC development to shape Thailand’s future financial landscape

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Krungsri (Bank of Ayudhya PCL), a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), one of the world’s largest financial organizations, is one of the first financial institutions in Thailand to be a preferred partner by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to start operating a pilot test for the ‘Retail Central Bank Digital Currency’ (Retail CBDC also called rCBDC). Krungsri will be one of the working team members collaborating with the BOT to develop and improve Thailand’s digital financial infrastructure, and accelerate the country’s future financial landscape.

Mr. Sayam Prasitsirigul, Krungsri Chief Information and Digital Officer said, “Krungsri is committed to continuing our innovation of digital products and services that meet customer needs. We must ensure that these innovative products and services are practical and able to respond to changing customer needs. This is critical as the world moves towards a truly cashless society and a digital economy.  Creating a strong foundation for Thailand’s digital finance infrastructure is essential to support businesses and consumers, and this also means we have to build awareness among the public of the importance of rCBDC and how it will make daily living more convenient and payments more secure. In line with Krungsri’ s mission of delivering beyond banking services, this study will serve as a prototype for further development of CBDC digital currency.”

The Pilot rCBDC with BOT will begin with testing for the Foundation Track of rCBDC in a group of 10,000 trial users. The first track will start testing from late 2022 until mid 2023. During the testing phase for the Foundation track, Krungsri has developed a mobile application specifically to be used with the rCBDC digital wallet.. This provides an opportunity to develop a variety of various features. As an example, pilot users will be able to apply for multiple digital wallets and even design their own “Personalized CBDC wallet” to suit their individual needs. The digital wallet will include programmable features which can indicate a specific use for the wallet or specify merchants where it can be used. For example, the CBDC in a wallet may only be allowed to be spent at schools.  During the test, Krungsri will allow pilot users to make payments for daily necessities like food, shopping and travel, the test results will be collected for analysis with the BOT.

“Being part of the pilot testing phase for rCBDC underscores our commitment to leveraging our extensive expertise in digital and innovation banking to create an efficient and stable digital financial infrastructure for consumers and businesses. This will support entrepreneurs at every level, from large to small businesses, to get a foothold in the new financial landscape and allow them to fully realize their potential. We aim to uplift Thailand’s future of money to be on par with other countries that have successfully deployed and piloted rCBDC, like China, the EU, and Sweden, and likewise match what the UAE, Singapore and Canada have done with Wholesale CBDC,” Mr. Sayam added.

“Krungsri prioritizes integrated technology development for both digital and IT work as a key element of our “Customer Centricity” strategy. Thus, products and services that we have developed must enhance the customer’s experience and make their lives more comfortable by making daily transactions more convenient while reducing unnecessary cost, time, and risks usually associated with making payments. At Krungsri, we believe that if we focus on and understand what customer’s need, we can provide the right financial solutions for everyone,” Mr. Sayam concluded.

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