Singapore’s blockchain payments system ready for launch

Singapore’s blockchain payments system ready for launch

The multi-currency payments network is in its final phase of testing for which the Singapore Monetary Authority collaborated with state investor Temasek and JP Morgan

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that the country’s very own blockchain payments project, Project Ubin, is ready to be launched commercially. In a statement released today, the MAS explained that Project Ubin could enable faster and cheaper international payments without compromising on security.

The multi-phase project began in 2016 when the MAS announced its intention to develop a digitized Singapore Dollar (SGD). After four years of rigorous experimentation and partnering with major banks and technology companies, Project Ubin is finally gearing up for a commercial rollout.

The MAS began phase one with exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology to build a system to enable settlement of payments and securities using digital SGD.

The final phase of Project Ubin saw the monetary authority team up with state investor, Temasek, and JP Morgan to develop the prototype of the multi-currency payments network.

The development of the prototype was finished in November 2019. Since then, the authority has been testing the system for its ability to function conveniently with commercial blockchain applications.

The MAS has stated that Project Ubin is an attempt to better understand blockchain technology and its potential benefits through practical experimentation. It aims to present a simpler to use and more effective alternative to today’s systems based on central bank-issued digital tokens.

Along with its partners, the MAS has collaborated with more than 40 firms in the course of developing Project Ubin. In the Singapore Financial Festival 2019, industry partners like CapBridge, Hashstacs, Digital Ventures and Digital Asset tested their integration with the Ubin prototype to process transactions and understand the potential benefits of the network.

“An international settlement network, modelled after this payments network prototype, could enable faster and cheaper transactions than conventional cross-border payments channels,” MAS and Temasek said in a joint statement. Further, the payments network will provide an interface for “other blockchain networks to connect and integrate seamlessly,” they said.

Cross-border payments in multiple currencies, foreign currency exchange and the settlement of foreign currency-denominated securities are some of the other commercial applications of the prototype, according to Reuters.

The MAS and Temasek have also said that they would make some of the technical specifications for the prototype network available to the public.

Apart from the government’s attempts to explore the blockchain space in Singapore, its private sector is also booming with crypto and blockchain projects. In the last year, Singapore has seen about 50% growth in the number of blockchain companies in the country.

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