After extending the deadline by 10 days, South Korea’s central bank is hoping for a second proposal to run the test of a digital won.

The Bank of Korea’s first deadline to bid for the contract to build and test a central bank digital currency (CBDC) was Oct. 19. 

That deadline was extended until Oct. 29 after it received only one bid, from the EY Hanyoung Consortium, a group led by big four auditing firm Ernst & Young (EY), SDNet South Korea reported on Oct. 20.

“It seems that there are few companies with the ability to carry out the business, so it seems to have been considered,” said an industry insider, according to the news outlet.

And in fact, the BoK has made clear that testing a blockchain-based digital won does not mean it plans to actually create one.

First announced in April, the 22-month-long project is scheduled to run through the end of 2021, The Korea Herald reported earlier this month.

Along with Samsung’s IT services firm Samsung SDS and Naver— the firm behind instant messenger Line—the auditing firm’s bid has its EY Hanyoung subsidiary responsible for designing processes for the elements necessary for the operation of the CBDC. Samsung SDS and Naver Line will collaborate on the system architecture.

The pilot program’s development budget is 800 million won, or about $700,000.

The Bank of Korea will re-announce the pilot and if no other company bids for the role, it will assess the technology proposed by the consortium. 

CBDCs an increasingly hot area of development in the blockchain space

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Development and research in the space of central bank digital currencies are being pursued worldwide in an increasingly aggressive way. As Modern Consensus reported yesterday, the Central Bank of The Bahamas just launched a digital currency dubbed the “Sand Dollar” for the whole country.

The Bahamas also beat China in the race to launch a CBDC, which is particularly interesting given how much the nation’s central bank insisted on trying to be the first to launch a digital currency. The People’s Bank of China stated that the development of a CBDC is a “new battlefield” of competition between nations, and that its own system has been ready since mid-September.



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