Lithuania Is Trialing a CBDC No One Can Use – And That’s by Design

Lithuania’s central bank is one month away from minting money too advanced for nearly anyone to use.

That’s because Lietuvos Bankas’ upcoming coinage is no pocket change or banknote – it’s a digital currency on the NEM blockchain. The Bank of Lithuania is issuing “LBCoin” – a commemorative digital token – with technology its own officials say no shopkeeper has the e-wallet necessary to accept.

LBCoin’s planned July launch follows more than two years of blockchain experiments by the Bank of Lithuania, at a time when interest is mounting in central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

However, Lithuania’s plans for distributed ledger technologies stretch far beyond numismatic novelties. Since March 2018, the central bank has been teaching itself all about blockchain, said Head of Innovation Andrius Adamonis, who is also the bank’s blockchain project manager.

“[LBCoin] will be a very interesting project because some people say it’s like a small-scale experimentation about CBDC,” says Adamonis.

In addition to these collectible cryptos, blockchain sandbox LBChain demonstrated how Lithuania can foster and grow fintech startups. The Bank of Lithuania is now even more ambitious about blockchain, Adamonis said. He wants to pitch Lithuania’s ministries of energy and health on a cross-agency, multi-blockchain platform called LTChain that the whole government could use.