Microsoft has announced its collaboration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to support Project Ubin Phase 2.
Led by MAS and ABS, Project Ubin is a strategic industry wide project to explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for the clearing and settlement of payments and securities, and a key milestone in Singapore’s ambition of becoming a Smart Financial Centre.
Phase 1 of Project Ubin was announced in November 2016 where MAS partnered with R3 and banks on a proof of concept for digital domestic currency. This initial phase successfully proved the use of a tokenized form of the Singapore Dollar (digital dSGD) with distributed ledger technology (DLT). Phase 2 extends the development onto three DLT platforms and addresses issues identified in Phase 1 around transaction finality and privacy, and the development of liquidity savings mechanisms. Participating financial institutions include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, DBS Bank Ltd, HSBC Limited, J.P. Morgan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, OCBC Bank, Singapore Exchange, Standard Chartered Bank, and United Overseas Bank.
MAS and ABS announced on 5 October 2017 the successful development of software prototypes on three DLT platforms that achieve a superior combination of decentralization and privacy. In their joint media release, MAS and ABS shared that a report on the project findings and details of the prototypes developed will be published during the Singapore FinTech Festival1, which will be held on 13 to 17 November.
In the media release2, Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said, “A key outcome of the consortium’s effort is the ability to perform netting while protecting the privacy of transactions. This helps to open up opportunity for a wider adoption of DLT-based settlement systems. 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.”
Ong-Ang Ai Boon, Director, ABS, said, “Project Ubin has brought the banks together in experimenting with DLT in a collaborative, open and transparent manner. We see immense benefits from a successful industry collaboration that creates a vibrant ecosystem. We are encouraged that this outcome could potentially be leveraged by the banks to catalyze the development of more innovative solutions.”
The project selected Microsoft due to its agnostic approach to distributed ledger technology. As an open, flexible and scalable platform, Azure supports a rapidly growing number of distributed ledger technologies that address specific business and technical requirements for security, performance and operational processes.
“Microsoft is working closely with its blockchain partners and the banks in this strategic project. The Azure cloud platform offers the agility needed to support this development. We are excited to be part of this key milestone for the Singapore financial services industry, and the learnings will benefit our community in future blockchain deployment”, said Connie Leung, Senior Director, Financial Services Business Lead – Asia, Microsoft.
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