IMF, World Bank, Singapore launch challenge for retail CBDCs

Rick Steves

Up to three winners will be selected, with each receiving S$50,000 in prize money. Interested parties are encouraged to submit their applications for the Global CBDC Challenge by 23 July 2021.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched a global challenge for retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) solutions.

The Global CBDC Challenge seeks innovative retail CBDC solutions to enhance payment efficiencies and promote financial inclusion.

The initiative was launched in partnership with the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Development Programme, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Blockchain companies are invited to address 12 problem statements centred on three key areas: (i) CBDC Instrument; (ii) CBDC Distribution; and (iii) CBDC Infrastructure. These problem statements have been curated from suggestions received from partner organisations from around the world.

The proposed solution should be cost effective to implement, while addressing both current and anticipated future payment needs of the consumer.

It must be accessible to a full spectrum of users, including lower-income households and those who are less tech-savvy.

The design of the retail CBDC solution should contribute to financial system resilience and integrity, and be consistent with monetary and financial stability.

The challenge will be supported by Amazon Web Services, Mastercard, Partior, R3 and open source software foundations, Hyperledger and the Mojaloop Foundation, and managed by the API Exchange (APIX) and Tribe Accelerator.

Up to 15 finalists will be selected to receive mentorship from industry experts and be given access to the APIX Digital Currency Sandbox for rapid prototyping of digital currency solutions.

The Sandbox will offer a comprehensive 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 more than 100 APIs provided via the APIX marketplace.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS, commented: “Central banks worldwide are actively exploring issuance of digital currencies, and are confronted with a wide range of policy and technology challenges.

“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.”

Up to three winners will be selected, with each receiving S$50,000 in prize money. Interested parties are encouraged to submit their applications for the Global CBDC Challenge by 23 July 2021.

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