South Korean media outlets are reporting plans by the Bank of Korea (BOK) to analyze the implications of cryptocurrency. Initial findings could be released within the next couple of months and may include the BOK's plans for issuing its own central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC).
"A taskforce has been studying the possibility of issuing a CBDC and how digital currencies will influence the country's overall financial sector since January," said a BOK statement. "We will announce updates on this issue by the end of June."
Although the bank admitted that this work is still in its "early stages," any BOK findings released in the near future that deal with cryptocurrency – especially a CBDC – are likely to cause a stir in the ecosystem.
The BOK has redoubled its efforts in recent years to uncover the most fundamental significance posed by distributed ledger technologies and cryptocurrency for both traditional markets and markets of the future. The central bank, which has publicly vowed to use all its capabilities to "meet the expectations of the people," previously helped create a report on CBDCs with the Bank for International Settlements' Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures.
South Korea, as the Republic is commonly known, is a hotbed for the burgeoning cryptocurrency and blockchain movement. Some have called South Koreans obsessive about crypto, and even BOK officials have had to be coached about potential conflicts of interest in trading cryptocurrencies.
South Korea's national currency, the won, accounted for more than 10 percent of bitcoin (BTC) trades during the latter half of 2017, second only to the US dollar. Furthermore, it was the most-used currency for Ether transactions until late 2017. The price of BTC in Korea was driven up to 50 percent higher than in America last year.