Brussels-headquartered KBC Group, which is “a leading European financial group with a focus on providing bank-insurance products and services to retail, SME and mid-cap clients”, has announced the launch of “Kate Coin”.
According to KBC’s press release, KBC is “the first financial institution in Europe to be ready to roll out its own digital coin based on blockchain technology.”
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KBC CEO Johan Thijs had this to say:
“KBC has always been at the forefront of new developments such as mobile banking, digital assistant and blockchain… With the Kate Coin, we are entering this new world and once again confirming our position as a leader and reference in digital banking insurance…
“The Kate Coin is a digital coin (e-money token), which is based on blockchain technology and was developed entirely within KBC. Soon, private KBC1 customers will be able to acquire Kate Coins and effectively use them via their Kate Coin wallet in KBC Mobile. This takes place in a so-called ‘closed loop’ environment, a closed environment outside of which the Kate Coin has no value.
“First of all within the KBC banking and insurance environment, but in time a whole world of application possibilities will open up in the wider ecosystem. Indeed, some KBC enterprise customers, third parties or partners who already offer their services via KBC Mobile and its 1.8 million users have developed their own ecosystem. They could also offer the Kate Coins and, together with KBC, further diversify and grow their business.
“Powered by the digital assistant Kate, the Kate Coin will proactively make life easier for our customers throughout the KBC group, today and in the future. The combination of the digital assistant Kate and the Kate Coin will enable KBC customers to save time and money. The first concrete steps are now being taken within KBC in Belgium, but the Kate Coin will eventually be rolled out throughout the entire KBC group.
“On Sunday 19 June, Werchter Boutique will be the scene of the first large-scale test of the Kate Coin. No fewer than 8,000 KBC employees present at the festival will be able to pay for snacks and drinks with Kate Coins.“
Erik Luts, Chief Innovation Officer KBC Group, added:
“The blockchain technology used by KBC ensures that the Kate Coin is fully programmable. KBC may attach specific conditions to both the acquisition and use of the Kate Coin. This allows for flexibility in, for example, the number of coins in exchange for a specific service, the scope of an acquired coin, or the period in which it can be used for this purpose.
“The customer can acquire Kate Coins in function of a certain loyalty, at a certain product purchase, if he performs certain actions … and can use these KBC Coins again, e.g. for a discount on another KBC product. The customers who want to use the Kate Coin don’t have to do anything: they automatically receive the Kate Coins in their Kate Coin wallet in KBC Mobile and Kate keeps them personally informed: why they receive Kate Coins, how long they can be used, etc.”
The press release also mentioned that “Kate Coins are not transferable to other KBC customers and cannot be exchanged for euros.”
It went on to say:
“Kate Coin is fully collateralised by KBC and pegged to the euro on a 1:1 basis (at a rate of 1 euro per Kate Coin), which means that volatility and speculation are not an issue. Kate Coin will of course fully comply with the applicable European and national regulatory or legislative framework. All transactions take place in the trusted KBC environment, a private blockchain managed by KBC, where KBC controls who has access.
“As a ‘digital coin’, Kate Coin is thus fundamentally different from the stablecoins and virtual currencies (on the global blockchain network) that are better known to the general public and that are characterised by their speculative nature, high volatility and lack of applicable regulation.“
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