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Taiwan Central Bank's 'govcoin' not ready for rollout yet

Pilot platform for potential central bank digital currency has been in works since 2020

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Taiwan's Central Bank logo in Taipei. (Reuters photo)

Taiwan's Central Bank logo in Taipei. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Bank disclosed on Thursday (June 17) the country has been working on a pilot platform for a potential Central Bank digital currency — though there is no timetable for a rollout at the moment.

"There is no point in rushing to launch the country's own digital currency if it won't make a better financial system and our life easier," Taiwan Central Bank Governor Yang Chin-long (楊金龍) was quoted as saying at a monthly monetary policy meeting, RTI reported.

Up to 86 percent of central banks around the world have begun to study the feasibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), including the United States, EU, Japan and South Korea. China, on the other hand, has rolled out its e-CNY trial in several big cities.

A pilot platform has been in the works in Taiwan since September 2020, according to the bank. It teamed up its bank staff with software engineers to simulate how people would make transactions through the government-run virtual currency for services or goods.

The bank's initial plan is to allow people to open a "govcoin" wallet with their own bank accounts, where the digital currencies are backed 1:1. With the wallet, people can pay without using credit or debit cards.

Yang said govcoin will only be launched when it has proven to be safer and easier to use than its mobile payment counterparts and genuinely "addresses people's needs."

"The Central Bank digital currency would only become a redundant option if it doesn't have more strengths than the existing electronic money," he added.