Singapore has “no plans for a retail CBDC (central bank digital currency),” Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said at the Singapore Blockchain Week on Tuesday.
Referring to a Financial Times article that said Singapore would roll out a retail-focused CBDC within a few years, Mohanty said it was “completely misreported.”
Singapore has been experimenting with CBDCs under Project Orchid, which aims to establish the technology infrastructure and capabilities needed to build a retail CBDC system, and Project Ubin, a collaborative project with the industry to explore the use of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for clearing and settlement of payments and securities.
“Many countries are experimenting with this now…My bet is that a retail CBDC would be a very programmable money, which means if any government issues a CBDC, it would be for a particular purpose. For example, if some government wants to issue a retail CBDC from central bank liability for a direct benefit transfer during a refugee crisis or during a national crisis so money can be sent to directly,” Mohanty said.
However, he added that there are “very few justifications” for a retail CBDC in Singapore because residents are already able to move money instantly at no cost via the interbank PayNow network.
The biggest use case for blockchain for Singapore is in trade finance, Mohanty said. “Trade finance has a material impact on Singapore’s economic construct because a large part of Singapore’s value comes from trade finance, as a global trading hub… On the capital markets side, it could also have a big impact because we are a large capital markets financial center, from FX to bonds to equity.”