(Bloomberg) -- Lithuania, which is positioning itself as a financial-technology hub for start-ups, rolled out the world’s first crypto coin for collectors.
The central bank said Thursday that it’s opening an e-shop for purchases of a digital coin dedicated to the Baltic nation’s 1918 declaration of independence. It advised collectors to sign up before July 23, when it will offer 24,000 tokens based on blockchain technology.
The coins, which cost 99 euros and are known as LBCOIN, won’t enter into circulation and won’t be legal tender. Collectors will be able to exchange them for a physical silver coin or to transfer them to a public NEM wallet for trade on the secondary market.
“This project is a test to see how people and systems respond,” central bank board member Marius Jurgilas said. “It’s a laboratory. The key benefit here is to understand how processes work to release such a coin.”
The bank is looking to gain experience in digital currencies and to test blockchain-based services as the European Central Bank discusses the merits of issuing its own crypto-currency to embrace modern-day challenges.
The People’s Bank of China is already working on a digital currency, while within the euro zone, the Dutch central bank carried out two crypto-currency experiments in 2015, finding drawbacks including industry fragmentation. In 2016, Germany tested blockchain -- the technology underlying crypto-currencies -- for transferring and settling securities and cash, concluding that the process was too expensive and slow.
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