Lithuania has just issued the world's first state-backed digital collectible coin.
The history of trade and payment has evolved through the ages, from bartering in the Stone Age to the invention of money. Coins were first used in 7th century Greece, while banknotes appeared in 17th century Sweden.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of digital currencies, as millions of people turn to cashless payments.
And Lithuania is now ushering in a whole new era with a digital currency called LBCOIN – the first digital coin issued by a central bank.
The LBCOIN, based on blockchain technology, consists of six digital tokens and one physical collector coin.
Made by the Lithuanian Mint, the silver collector coins resemble a credit card. It depicts Lithuania’s 1918 act of independence and its 20 signatories, and carries an unconventional nominal value of €19.18 to commemorate the date.
For now, the Bank of Lithuania has issued only 4,000 collector coins, making them a sought-after prize. They can only be obtained after buying the digital tokens, sold in packs of six for 99 euros.
Sales of the new currency are being limited at first to encourage uptake and trading.
By purchasing LBCOIN, collectors get six randomly selected digital tokens that they will be able to exchange for a physical collector coin, store at the LBCOIN e-shop, send as a gift, swap with other collectors or transfer to a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency wallet.