MAS Launches Global Challenge for Retail CBDC Solutions

Fintechs, financial institutions and solution providers from around the world are invited to submit innovative solutions that can address 12 problem statements.

MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) has announced the launch of a global challenge inviting firms to submit innovative solutions that can address retail CBDC problem statements, enhance payment efficiencies and promote financial inclusion.

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

“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.”

The ‘Global CBDC Challenge’ is launched in partnership with the IMF (International Monetary Fund), World Bank, ADB (Asian Development Bank), United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Development Programme, and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Fintech companies, financial institutions and solution providers from around the world are invited to submit innovative solutions that can address 12 problem statements centred on three key areas:

  • CBDC Instrument – improve and expand the accessibility and utility of digital payments.
  • CBDC Distribution – mitigate risks associated with payment transfers and market infrastructure
  • CBDC Infrastructure – provision of a viable CBDC infrastructure that is low-cost, efficient and robust and provides for trusted settlement of payment transactions among participants.

“A retail CBDC built for next-generation financial rails has the potential to increase payments efficiencies, improve financial inclusion, and support the broader digitalisation drive in the economy,” MAS says. “However, the design and technology underpinning retail CBDC solutions need to meet a number of public policy objectives.”

  • 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 Global CBDC 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
  • more than 100 APIs provided via the APIX marketplace

Finalists will pitch their solutions to a global audience on Demo Day to be held at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival on 8-12 November 2021.

Up to three winners will be selected, with each receiving SGD 50,000 in prize money.

More details on the competition are published here.

Interested parties are asked to submit their applications for the Global CBDC Challenge by 23 July 2021.

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