Singapore's Central Bank to Test Blockchain-Backed Digital Currency

Blockchain consortium startup R3CEV and eight major banks are said to be participating in the forthcoming trial.

AccessTimeIconNov 16, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:37 p.m. UTC
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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will soon test how it could issue digital currency using a blockchain-based interbank payment system.

According to Bloomberg, the planned proof-of-concept will be supported by blockchain consortium R3CEV, as well as eight banks and an unnamed local stock exchange. The Development Bank of Singapore, HSBC, Bank of America, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi are all said to be participating.

In a speech on Wednesday, MAS managing director Ravi Menon said the test could come to include other central banks. Further, he credited the bank's desire to remove cost and friction from traditional bank transactions as the motivation for the effort.

Menon said:

"Today, banks have to go through correspondent banks to intermediate these payments. It takes time and adds to cost. This project marks the first step in MAS's exploration of ways to harness the potential of central bank-issued digital currency."

Bloomberg reports the trial would find banks depositing cash as collateral with MAS, which would then issue a digital currency to participants. The digital currency could then be exchanged among participants in the system and later redeemed for cash.

The forthcoming trial bears similarities to a previously announced effort from UBS, Deutsche Bank, Banco Santander and startup Clearmatics in August.

Called Utility Settlement Coin, the project envisioned how a central bank could issue digital currency that could then be redeemed for cash held by a central bank.

Singapore dollars via Shutterstock

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