ANZ Bank Shortlisted for Singapore’s Retail CBDC Project

September 08, 2021, 10:15 AM AEST - 2 weeks ago

One of Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks, ANZ is one of 15 finalists in a global competition to develop a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) solution. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the shortlist for its Global CBDC Challenge on August 30 after considering more than 300 submissions from over 50 countries.

Entrants were asked to propose solutions, using any technology, to develop a retail CBDC that would be cost-effective to implement, accessible, and contribute to financial system resilience and integrity. 

ANZ is the only Australian organisation to be shortlisted. Other finalists include six companies from Singapore and four US-based companies, including IBM.

ANZ’s proposed solution will leverage existing e-governance and ‘smart nation’ initiatives, drawing on known services like national ‘digital identity’ management.

CBDC Innovations to be Revealed at Global FinTech Event

Chief FinTech Officer for MAS, Sopnendu Mohanty, said:

The Global CBDC Challenge aims to discover and develop retail CBDC solutions that will benefit the global community. We are encouraged by the strong interest from established financial institutions and emerging FinTechs alike. The quality of proposals received from the global innovation community was impressive. 

Sopnendu Mohanty, MAS

The competition to encourage innovative retail CBDC solutions to enhance payment efficiencies and promote financial inclusion was run in partnership with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Development Program, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Finalists will progress to an eight-week ‘Acceleration Phase’ to develop and prototype their solutions ahead of a demonstration during the Singapore FinTech Festival 2021, a global event held in November. Three winners will be selected and each will receive S$50,000 (A$50,100) in prizemoney.  

What are CBDCs and is Australia Developing One?

Central banks around the world have recognised that digital currencies are here to stay and are developing digital forms of fiat currency – known as CBDCs – which can be classified as retail (for everyone) or wholesale (for use by permitted institutions).

In February this year, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) indicated it was focused on the potential launch of a wholesale CBDC but did not see a strong case for a retail CBDC.

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