Taiwan central bank says no timetable for launching digital currency

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s central bank said on Sunday that it has no timetable for launching a digital currency, warning the process will be “huge and complex”, but it will hold public hearings on the matter next year to spread knowledge.

Taiwan’s central bank has been working on a pilot for a government-run digital currency, to allow people to use a digital wallet and make payments without using a debit or credit card.

“Although the bank currently has no timetable for issuing central bank digital currency, in the process of continuous research and experimentation it is already improving the processing efficiency and innovative application of the payment system,” it said in a report to parliament.

Given the currency’s launch will affect many people it is necessary to widely communicate about it, and public hearings and forums will happen next year to promote knowledge of the currency, the bank said, ahead of its governor Yang Chin-long taking lawmaker questions on Monday.

“The promotion of central bank digital currency is a huge and complex project that will need to be carried out for a long time,” it added.

A total of 134 countries representing 98% of the global economy are now exploring digital versions of their currencies, with over half in advanced development, pilot or launch stages, according to a study released in March.

Supporters say digital currencies will allow new functionality and provide an alternative to physical cash. But they have also fuelled protests in a number of countries over the potential for government snooping.

(Reporting by Liang-sa Loh and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)

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