MAS partners with IMF, World Bank to launch global challenge for digital currency solutions

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) introduced a global challenge for retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) solutions which will be supported by Amazon Web Services, Mastercard and Hyperledger among others.

Dubbed Global CBDC Challenge, the initiative has been launched in collaboration with International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Capital Development Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development among others.

It intends to bring about new retail CBDC solutions to improve payment efficiencies and drive financial inclusion. The proposed solution should be cost-effective to implement while addressing both current and anticipated future payment needs of the consumer, MAS said.

FinTech companies, financial institutions and solution providers around the world can submit their solutions that address problems in connection to CBDC Instrument, CBDC Distribution and CBDC Infrastructure.

The design and technology of the proposed solutions are required to meet certain public policy objectives. These include cost-effective implementation, broad accessibility to a full spectrum of users, and the potential to cater to both current and future payment needs of consumers.

Furthermore, the design of the retail CBDC solution is required to support financial system resilience and integrity, and in line with financial and monetary stability.

MAS chief FinTech officer Sopnendu Mohanty said, “Through the Global CBDC Challenge, MAS hopes to encourage innovator communities worldwide to develop and showcase solutions that can maximise the potential of CBDC to deliver efficiencies to payment services, improve financial inclusion, consistent with central banks’ core mandate of monetary stability.”

The Global CBDC Challenge is supported by Amazon Web Services, Mastercard, Partior, R3 and open source software foundations, Hyperledger and the Mojaloop Foundation.

API Exchange and Tribe Accelerator will manage the challenge, which will select up to 15 finalists for mentorship from industry experts. They will also receive access to the APIX Digital Currency Sandbox for rapid prototyping of digital currency solutions.

The Sandbox will provide a test and development platform that includes core-banking APIs from APIX, payment APIs from Mojaloop Foundation, digital currency APIs from Mastercard, Partior and R3, and over 100 APIs offered via the APIX marketplace.

Interested innovators can submit their applications for the Global CBDC Challenge by 23 July 2021. Finalists will be able to pitch their solutions to a global audience on Demo Day at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival. Up to three winners will be chosen and each of them will secure S$50,000 ($37,000) in prize money.

Earlier this year, the Bank of Thailand also announced plans to test a retail CBDC.

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