Singapore’s de facto central bank has disclosed new details about its research into financial applications of blockchain.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), along with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) trade group, today unveiled a new set of distributed ledger prototypes that form the second phase of “Project Ubin”, an initiative that began last year with the goal of testing how a tokenized version of the Singaporean dollar could be created.
To date, the MAS has taken a more proactive approach to its work with blockchain compared to some central banks. Its research dates back to as early as 2015, when the regulator revealed that it was looking at uses that included leveraging the tech for record-keeping purposes.
Based on new statements, Project Ubin has grown to include prototype tools from all parts of the interbank settlement process.
As the regulator explained:
“The three software models developed are amongst the first in the world to implement decentralized netting of payments in a manner that preserves transactional privacy. Existing netting programmes used in inter-bank payments rely on a single payment queue visible to the operator to find offsetting payments. Decentralizing the queue, however, potentially exposes payment details to an unauthorized party. The latest models in Project Ubin achieve a superior combination of decentralization and privacy.”
The regulator’s chief fintech officer, Sopnendu Mohanty, expressed hope that the release would spark further research developments, including those between the MAS and other institutions like it.
“We are sharing our learnings and knowledge from Project Ubin to encourage greater experimentation amongst central banks and financial institutions. We look forward to working with other central banks on the use of DLT for cross-border applications,” Mohanty said.
The information release is the latest development from the MAS on the blockchain front, though the regulator has been busying itself with other issues around the tech in recent months.
In early August, MAS officials released a statement on initial coin offerings (ICOs), or sales in which cryptographic tokens are sold in order to fund or bootstrap a new blockchain network.
Per the statement, the MAS believes that some tokens sales fall under the definition of a securities offering, triggering reporting requirements for those involved. The regulator later released an investor warning on the topic of ICOs.
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