Blockchain: Singapore’s Project Ubin Completes Final Phase Depicting How Financial Services Can Benefit from Blockchain, Payments Prototype Included Participation of JPMorgan

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Temasek have published the final report on a blockchain trial. The report, “Project Ubin Phase 5: Enabling Broad Ecosystem Opportunities” shares insights into the blockchain-based multi-currency payments network prototype that was built and describes how the network could benefit the financial services industry as well as the blockchain ecosystem. Project Ubin was launched in 2016 working with a diverse group of interested parties seeking to better understand the benefits of blockchain technology.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at MAS, shared the following statement on the report:

“As with all innovation adoption, there is a time for experimentation, and a time for commercialisation. Project Ubin has worked with the financial industry and blockchain community on a journey of experimentation, prototyping and learning. This has built a strong foundation of knowledge, expertise and experience, and paved a path towards commercial adoption. Following the successful experimentation over five phases, we look forward to greater adoption and live deployment of blockchain technology.”

Global consultancy firm Accenture was commissioned to publish the document which examines different uses of blockchain technology in commercial applications across various industries, and how these applications could benefit from integrating with the blockchain-based payments network prototype developed.

The payments network prototype was developed in collaboration with JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Temasek. The prototype is said to serve as a test network to facilitate collaboration with other central banks and the financial industry for developing next-generation cross-border payments infrastructure.

Umar Farooq, Managing Director & Head of Blockchain at JPMorgan, said JPM is a leader in building commercial solutions using blockchain technology.

“We have been an active contributor to Project Ubin since its inception, leveraging our learnings and infrastructure including Quorum, Interbank Information Network (IIN) and JPM Coin.  Phase 5 has demonstrated how broadly blockchain technology can impact the future of business and we look forward to working with MAS, Temasek and other banks to develop and scale commercial solutions for the industry.”

According to MAS and Temasek, the key findings of the report include:

  • The multi-currency payments network prototype developed under Project Ubin Phase 5 successfully settled payments in different currencies on the same network. An international settlement network, modelled after this payments network prototype, could enable faster and cheaper transactions than conventional cross-border payments channels.
  • Project Ubin Phase 5 validated the use of smart contracts on the payments network prototype in use cases such as Delivery-versus-Payment (DvP) settlement with assets on private exchanges, conditional payments and escrow for trade, as well as payment commitments for trade finance.
  • The commercial applications of the payments network prototype include cross-border payments in multiple currencies, foreign currency exchange, settlement of foreign currency denominated securities, as well as integration with other blockchain-based platforms to enable end-to-end digitalisation across many industries and use cases.

Chia Song Hwee, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Temasek, said that blockchain technology has great potential in transforming businesses and opening up new business opportunities.

“Phase 5 of Project Ubin has demonstrated the commercial applicability, viability and benefits of blockchain technology across industries, beyond capital markets and trade finance. This validates Temasek’s efforts in exploring and building blockchain solutions focusing on digital identity, digital currencies and financial asset tokenisation. We look forward to supporting commercialisation efforts emanating from Project Ubin and other application areas, with a view to drive greater adoption of blockchain technology.”

Lay Lim Teo, Accenture’s country managing director for Singapore, added:

“Through Project Ubin, we have identified areas where blockchain-based solutions can be deployed at scale and drive greater payment efficiency across industries. The financial ecosystem is an integral part of Singapore’s ambition to be a Smart Nation. The collaboration between financial and non-financial firms to create the network necessary to support multi-currency payments will also drive new products and services that generate new revenue streams.”

The document includes multiple, high-level case studies like trade finance, digital securities and cross border payments.

The report concludes that with a “clearer understanding of the benefits and the business value, there will be further commercial adoption and live implementation of the technology for viable use cases.” It was not immediately clear how the prototypes will be leveraged going forward.

Project Ubin Phase 5 Enabling Broad Ecosystem Opportunities
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