KBC is the first bank in Europe to launch a digital currency based on blockchain technology. But the Kate Coin is very different from bitcoin.
“Virtual currencies are the future!” The presentation of the Kate Coin by Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC, begins with a little surprise. A banker who extols the merits of virtual currencies is rather rare. “You didn’t read the sentence written in small, just below, smiles the boss. It’s the future… according to some.” Shade.
“The Kate Coin is not a speculative asset.”
The Kate Coin is not the new bitcoin, KBC version. The two projects are radically different. The Kate Coin is indeed a virtual currency. Like cryptocurrencies, it is based on super-secure blockchain technology. It even has a nice little round K-shaped logo, adorned with double vertical bars reminiscent of the bitcoin symbol. But the similarities end there. The Belgian bank did not create a new highly speculative asset. It’s quite the opposite.
Pay for your beer in Kate Coin
The Kate Coin, which takes its name from Kate, KBC’s digital assistant, is a private digital currency. It works in a closed environment, chosen by the bank. It will not be listed on any cryptocurrency exchange, which means it will not have a specific price and therefore will not be not subject to the usual volatility of the crypto market. “The Kate Coin is not a speculative asset”, attests Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC.
This Sunday, the Kate Coin will make its first appearance for a life-size test at the Werchter Boutique festival, where Stromae occurs. The 8,000 KBC employees invited to the concert will be able to pay for their beers and Bicky Burgers with Kate Coins.
After this test, KBC intends to offer the Kate Coin to all its customers in Belgium. The virtual currency will be integrated into the KBC Mobile application, which has 1.8 million users. It will allow its users tobuy goods or servicesor of get discounts from KBC partners. For the bank, the next step is therefore to sign partnerships with merchants interested in this innovative virtual currency. “The Kate Coin is a programmable currency, explains Johan Thijs. This means that it can be assigned a different value over time or depending on the characteristics of the product you want to buy. The possibilities are limitless.”
The Kate Coin could be used to offer a discount on a well-identified product for a limited time. Imagine a sneaker store that wants to promote its latest model at 150 euros. It is possible to “program” the currency to make 5 Kate Coins offer a reduction of 15 euros for 24 hours, then a smaller reduction of 5 euros for two weeks. Another example: the consumer could buy foodstuffs in Kate Coins, of which the value would depend on that of the nutriscore attached to the product. It would therefore be more advantageous to use your Kate Coins to buy an apple (nutriscore A) rather than a Bounty (nutriscore E).
Other banks interested?
The Kate Coin will initially be offered in Belgium to KBC customers. If the test is conclusive, the programmable currency could be extended to the other countries in which KBC is present (Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc.). More amazing: KBC would like to offer its Kate Coin to other bankswhich could integrate it into their own platforms.
“With the Kate Coin, KBC is the first bank in Europe to launch a virtual currency based on blockchain technology.”
For KBC, this entry into the virtual currency sector is a way to test blockchain technology and position yourself as an innovative player in the banking sector. “With the Kate Coin, KBC is the first bank in Europe to launch a virtual currency based on the blockchain”, rejoices Johan Thijs. The CEO of KBC follows developments in cryptocurrencies very closely, which have already won over more than 500,000 Belgians. However, the boss does not want to profile himself in favor of this risky, deregulated and highly volatile market: “KBC does not offer crypto products. It’s not on the agenda. We are very careful. The Kate Coin is a very different project.”
- KBC is the first bank in Europe to launch a digital currency based on blockchain technology.
- The Kate Coin is a private virtual currency, reserved for the ecosystem chosen by KBC.
- This programmable currency will make it possible to buy goods and services and obtain discounts.
- It is tested for the first time this Sunday at the Werchter Boutique festival.