Polish Banks Mull CBDC, Cryptoasset Projects
Poland’s central bank (Narodowy Bank Polski, NBP) and the country’s largest retail bank seem to be accelerating their respective works on developing digital assets - with the former potentially working on a central bank digital currency (CBDC), and the latter possibly moving to launch its own crypto.
Poland’s national bank has largely been skeptical with regards to cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology. Last August, for instance, Marta Gajęcka, Member of the bank’s Management Board, said that the NBP was not working on the digital zloty project, but was observing such efforts by its peers across the region. “Digital currency must be related with safe, reliable systems. Currently, there is no system in the world that would ensure 100% safety,” she said.
However, a recent statement indicates that the NBP may be readying for a U-turn on its previous stance on CBDCs, announcing it planned to accelerate its efforts with relation to such assets.
“Many central banks, including the NBP, are intensifying the work they have initiated” with regards to CBDCs, a spokesperson for the central bank told local news agency PAP.
The NBP was preparing another analysis regarding the feasibility of introducing a Polish CBDC, and it planned to release its findings this year, according to the spokesperson.
“It cannot be ruled out that the analysis of […] external factors could demonstrate the need for the NBP to proceed in 2022 to the next phase of work on a central bank digital currency,” the spokesperson said.
On a related note, Poland’s largest bank PKO BP recently filed for a trademark for the symbol of a forthcoming digital asset called PLCOIN. The company filed its first trademark applications in late 2017, but the recent move could mean that the bank may be readying to launch its own cryptoasset, local financial news site Cashless.pl reported.
The project could significantly increase the crypto exposure of Polish individual investors, as the bank has a customer base of 11m with total savings of some PLN 312bn (USD 77.3bn), according to data from PKO BP’s annual report for 2020.
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