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MAS Launches Expanded Initiative to Advance Cross-Border Connectivity in Wholesale CBDCs

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Singapore, 3 November 2022. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today launched Ubin+, an expanded collaboration with international partners on cross-border foreign exchange (FX) settlement using wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC). 

Ubin+ will focus on the following:

  • Study business models and governance structures for cross-border foreign exchange (FX) settlement, where atomic settlement, based on digital currencies, can improve efficiencies and reduce settlement risks compared to existing payment and settlement rails.
  • Develop technical standards and infrastructure to support cross-border connectivity, interoperability and atomic settlement of currency transactions across platforms using distributed ledger technology (DLT), and non-DLT based financial market infrastructures.
  • Establish policy guidelines for the connectivity of digital currency infrastructure across borders, for better access and participation. This includes policy relating to governance, access and compliance issues for such linkages.

As part of Ubin+, the following projects will be undertaken with international partners: 

  • Foreign Exchange and Liquidity Management: Project Mariana is a collaborative initiative that explores the exchange and settlement of Swiss franc, Euro and Singapore dollar wholesale CBDCs with an automated market maker [1] (AMM) arrangement. The project is a partnership involving MAS, Banque de France, Swiss National Bank, and the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub’s Eurosystem, Switzerland and Singapore Centres. 
  • Interoperability between DLT and non-DLT payment systems: MAS is participating in SWIFT’s CBDC Sandbox, together with more than 17 central banks and global commercial banks, to explore cross-border interoperability across digital currencies based on DLT and non-DLT payment systems. 
  • Connectivity across heterogenous digital currency networks: As wholesale digital currencies could potentially gain traction as a cross-border medium of exchange, MAS is studying possible mechanisms to maintain connectivity across CBDC and other heterogenous digital currency networks. MAS will also study the use of smart contracts to optimise efficiency and reduce counterparty risks in the settlement of cross-border transactions. 

Ubin+ will strengthen Singapore’s capabilities to use digital currency-based infrastructure for cross-border transactions. The initiative builds on the foundation started with Project Ubin (2016-2020) [2] and learnings from MAS’ participation in Project Dunbar [3] . 

Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said “Interoperable wholesale digital currencies offer efficiency gains through a growing range of cross-border use cases. We will evaluate these new use cases simultaneously, to keep pace with technological advancements, focusing on use cases that create good value for the broadest range of stakeholders. Working with competent, like-minded partners will accelerate central banks’ collective progress to an optimal future state of digital infrastructures.”

[1] AMM, a concept commonly used in Decentralised Finance, or DeFi, enables the exchange and settlement of two or more digital assets to be performed automatically with a smart contract.

[2] Project Ubin is a multi-year multi-phase collaborative project with the industry to explore the use of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for clearing and settlement of payments and securities. Project Ubin: Central Bank Digital Money using Distributed Ledger Technology (mas.gov.sg)

[3] Project Dunbar proved that a common platform for multiple wholesale CBDCs could enable cheaper, faster and safer cross-border payments. The project also examined how such a common platform could be made feasible from policy and governance perspectives. The project involved collaboration between the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub Singapore Centre, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank Negara Malaysia, the MAS and the South African Reserve Bank.

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