Lithuania's central bank to issue the world’s first digital collector coin
Taking a groundbreaking step, the Bank of Lithuania is set to make history, issuing a one-of-a-kind digital collector coin already this year. The coin will be designed using blockchain or other equivalent technologies.
‘This would be the perfect way to mark the centenary of the restoration of Lithuania’s statehood, which we are celebrating this year, as well as show the world that it is a progressive and innovation-fostering country, always open to new ideas. Introducing a digital collector coin, Lithuania would be the first to break new ground in numismatics,’ said Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
To choose the underlying technology and specific development solutions, the Bank of Lithuania will be organising a hackathon, bringing together tech companies and IT professionals from around the globe. The programming event should take place in May this year. More information on the hackathon will be available during the first weeks of April.
Having considered all the relevant factors, final decisions on the mintage, denomination, price and the date of issue of the coin as well as the mode of distribution will be made after the hackathon comes to a close.
According to Mr Jurgilas, the central bank has been making intensive preparations for the issuance of the digital coin: ‘Many challenges are upon us, yet we hope that, having overcome any hurdles that may come our way, we will make our plans a reality before the end of the year.’
The Board of the Bank of Lithuania has already decided to include the digital collector coin into the official Bank of Lithuania plan for the issue of numismatic items in 2018.
Commemorating important events, phenomena or prominent figures, numismatic items issued by the Bank of Lithuania are intended for collection and are not issued with a view to their entry into circulation, i.e. use as legal tender. Nonetheless, digital collector coins, like the usual ones, may be returned to the Bank of Lithuania at nominal value.
The issuance of the digital collector coin is yet another step towards implementing one of the Bank of Lithuania’s strategic directions in the field of innovation and FinTech. At the start of the year the central bank announced its intention to create a blockchain sandbox platform, dubbed LBChain. It is aimed at helping Lithuanian and international companies gain knowledge and carry out blockchain-oriented research, thus adapting and testing blockchain-based services in the financial sector. The project is expected to be launched in 2019, accelerating the development of FinTech businesses, which has been gathering pace in recent years, and reinforcing their eagerness to set up in Lithuania.