The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank, in collaboration with investment bank JPMorgan has developed a blockchain-based prototype for multi-currency payments.
According to an official release on Monday, MAS stated that the latest development for its Project Ubin allows for payments to be executed in different currencies on the same network, enabling cross-border payments. This is the fifth phase of the project, which was developed in collaboration with JP Morgan and Temasek – a government-owned investment company.
Started as a collaborative project to test the viability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology, MAS states that the novel implementation is bringing cost and speed benefits.
“There is growing evidence now that blockchain-based payments networks are able to enhance cost efficiencies and create new opportunities for businesses,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of MAS.
In its fifth phase, the prototype developed allows for payments settlement and clearing with different currencies. The payments network will also provide an interface for other blockchains to connect and will support delivery-versus-payment (DvP) settlement with private exchanes, conditional payments, escrow as well as payments commitments for trade finance.
Beyond technical experimentation, the fifth phase of Project Ubin sought to determine the commercial viability and value of the blockchain-based payments network. Until now, MAS and its partners have engaged more than 40 financial and commercial companies to explore the potential benefits of the blockchain-based network.
“The inclusion of non-financial services companies has demonstrated applicability of blockchain technology beyond capital markets and trade finance. We look forward to deeper collaboration and support for Singapore’s pioneering efforts in the blockchain space,” stated Chia Song Hwee, Chief Operating Officer at Temasek.
Investment bank JP Morgan, part of project Ubin, acts as the infrastructure provider for the prototype’s development. The banking giant has tipped its toes in the blockchain industry with various initiatives, including the inter-bank settlement network with its own stablecoin JPM Coin.
“J.P. Morgan is excited to be an infrastructure partner of MAS and Temasek for Phase 5 of Project Ubin. By leveraging our key learnings from building the Interbank Information Network® (IIN) and the JPM Coin, J.P. Morgan is well-positioned to support the development of a blockchain-based payments network and operate at scale.” John Hunter, Global Head of Clearing and Interbank Information Network.
Consultancy firm Accenture is set to publish a detailed report with the results of the prototype by early 2020, which will also indicate additional features that could be provided by the network.
Singapore officials hope that the success of their trial will motivate other central banks to explore blockchain-based settlement networks as well. Recently, People’s Bank of China (PBoC) revealed the development of its own digital currency, while the European Union is considering the issuance of a digital Euro.