Samsung and Bank of Korea Collaborate on Offline CBDC


Samsung is reportedly working with the Bank of Korea on a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The consumer tech firm has signed an agreement known as a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Korea’s central bank to conduct technical research on the product, CNBC reported Tuesday (May 16).

Samsung did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

“Through the establishment of this MOU, we hope that the Republic of Korea will continue to lead the way in the field of offline CBDC technology, a sector that is being actively explored by global central banks,” Seungheon Lee, senior deputy director at the Bank of Korea, said in the report.

The agreement aims to build an “offline” digital currency that would work with Samsung’s Galaxy phones and enable contactless payments between Galaxy smartphones and smartwatches via near-field communication (NFC) technology, even when the users have no internet connection, according to the report.

“This collaboration with [the] Bank of Korea has allowed us to apply Samsung’s advanced security innovations to the digital currency field,” Won-Joon Choi, executive vice president of mobile experience at Samsung, said in the report. “We expect our collaboration to make a valuable contribution to the advancement of global offline CBDC technology.”

Samsung and the Bank of Korea have collaborated on other projects around CBDCs.

The two organizations announced in August 2021 that they were working together to pilot a digital currency on Galaxy smartphones for cross-border applications and functionality in offline environments.

An unnamed executive said at the time that the pilot program was “aimed at checking on money transfers and remittances between countries, issuing and distributing the CBDC and monitoring how that eventually works in virtual environments.”

In October, Samsung said it was expanding its Samsung Wallet to 11 new markets.

“We are focused on bringing the platform to as many markets as possible, as soon as possible, so more Samsung Galaxy users have the opportunity to reap the benefits of the digital wallet,” Jeanie Han, executive vice president and head of Digital Life Team at Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung Electronics, said at the time.