The central bank is making a foray into digital currency. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, central bank chief Yang Chin-long confirmed plans to issue a virtual token that can be used for everyday payments. The currency will be pegged to the New Taiwan dollar, making it a risk-free form of money. Yang said the project was large and complex, and that the legal work alone would take at least two years.

Central bank chief Yang Chin-long refuses to be drawn on an upcoming power price increase, which is expected to drive consumer prices and intensify inflation. On Wednesday, reporters asked Yang about a potential emergency meeting on interest rate policy. But the central bank governor declined to answer directly, instead pivoting to plans for a new digital currency.

It can be used at vending machines, to pay for a taxi, and even to make investments. The new virtual currency can be used for everyday payments, and it’s now in the experimentation phase. It’s the central bank’s latest effort to speed up the digitization of finance. It will be pegged to the New Taiwan dollar, making it a risk-free form of money.

Yang Chin-long

Central bank governor

We must lay a sound legal groundwork, so that will take a long time. After that’s done, we will start thinking about how to move the project forward. This will take at least two years – we’re still assessing the timeline.

The legal and technical aspects of the currency will take at least two years to finetune. According to Yang, the token will be different from virtual currencies like bitcoin and ether, which have recently fallen sharply.

Yang Chin-long

Central bank governor

Bitcoin is a very volatile financial commodity. It continues to be a vehicle for speculation.

Once the central bank’s digital currency is ready to go, it will provide a safe and risk-free means of payment, Yang said. He said that in contrast, bitcoin was highly volatile and that investors should trade at their own risk.