The Bank of Lithuania Released a Cryptocurrency, But It’s for Collector

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The Bank of Lithuania has released a digital, blockchain-based collector coin dedicated to the country’s Act of Independence of 1918 and its 20 signatories.

Claiming a world first, the central bank says the digital coin represents “a bridge that brings together classical numismatics and rapidly evolving financial technologies.” 

Issued on July 23, the new LBCOIN is intended both as a national symbol and as a signal of the bank’s strategic choice to drive innovation in the field of finance and payments.

“Digital money is inevitable”

Marius Jurgilas, a member of the board of the Bank of Lithuania, gave a comprehensive overview of the project’s goals, stating that:

“Digital money is inevitable in the digital economy. Today, LBCOIN is what allows people in Lithuania and around the globe to test new technologies in a safe environment, e.g. go through all authentication procedures remotely, open an e-wallet, swap digital tokens with other collectors or transfer them to the public NEM network.”

Jurgillas added that for the bank, issuance of the coin “allows us to get the know‑how in issuing central bank digital currencies, which in turn should benefit the central bank community and the euro area as a whole.” 

Symbolic capital

The LBCOIN issuance consists of six digital tokens and one physical collector coin. 4,000 LBCOINs have been issued in total — 24,000 digital tokens and 4,000 silver collector coins.

The physical silver collector coins bear a denomination of 19.18 euros, in homage to the year of the 1918 Act of Independence. Minted at the Lithuania Mint, their size and form resembles a credit card and they feature various symbolic details, such as the national anthem inscribed in binary code. It also incorporates a QR code linked to the LBCOIN e-shop. 

Each digital token features one of the Act’s 20 signatories and belongs to one of six signatory categories — priests, presidents, diplomats, industrialists, academics and municipal servants.

Once a collector purchases an LBCOIN, priced at 99 euros, they receive six randomly selected digital tokens from the issuance. 

These can either be exchanged for a physical collector coin, stored at the LBCOIN e-shop, sent as a gift, swapped online or transferred to an NEM public blockchain network using an NEM wallet.

Temporarily, purchases will be limited to one per person for a period of six days, after which they will be unlimited.

Beyond its embrace of blockchain numismatics, the Bank of Lithuania also has ambitious long-term plans to develop its own blockchain platform for use beyond the financial services sector.

At the end of May, the bank’s blockchain-based sandbox, LBChain project, completed its third and final stage. The LBChain network is set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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