The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reveals that it has introduced an international challenge for retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) solutions.
The Global CBDC Challenge from the MAS will aim to find innovative retail CBDC solutions to improve existing payment processes while promoting greater financial inclusion.
Previously, MAS had stated that it decided to focus more on wholesale CBDCs with Project Ubin as there’s currently a fairly limited demand for a retail CBDC, considering that the current payment infrastructure already allows consumers to transfer funds quickly and at affordable costs.
The challenge has been launched with assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Development Program, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Fintech firms, financial institutions, and various other financial services providers across the globe are welcome to turn in their innovative solutions that may address key problem statements that are all centered on three core areas: (i) CBDC Instrument; (ii) CBDC Distribution; and (iii) CBDC Infrastructure.
The Global CBDC Challenge from the MAS is being supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Mastercard, Partior, R3 and open-source software foundations, Hyperledger and the Mojaloop Foundation, and overseen by the API Exchange (APIX) and Tribe Accelerator.
Up to 15 finalists will be reportedly be chosen to get mentorship training from industry professionals and will also be provided access to the APIX Digital Currency Sandbox for prototyping of virtual currency solutions.
The sandbox will provide an extensive test and development platform that comes with core-banking APIs from APIX, payment APIs from Mojaloop Foundation, virtual currency APIs from Mastercard, Partior and R3, and over 100 APIs offered through the APIX marketplace.
Program finalists will be able to pitch their solutions to an international audience on Demo Day that will take place at the upcoming Singapore Fintech Festival. Up to three winners will be chosen, with each winner getting SGD 50,000 in prize money.
Those who may be interested in this initiative are asked to turn in their applications for the Global CBDC Challenge by July 23, 2021.
Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer, MAS, stated:
“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.”