Monday, November 6, 2017

CNBC: Singapore to Finish Cryptocurrency Trial in 2018

Earlier this year we mentioned that we might see the first central bank digital currency arrive by next year. We also speculated it might come from Singapore. CNBC confirms in this article that Singapore intends to finish up its testing for such a currency in 2018. Below are a few excerpts from the article.

"Singapore will conclude its experiment with blockchain technology and its own digital currency next year before deciding whether to commercialize the trial, the country's regulator has told CNBC.
In 2016, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced "Project Ubin," an exploration of blockchain or distributed ledger technology.
The project is split into five phases. The first, which looked at establishing a proof-of-concept design to conduct inter-bank payments using blockchain technology, was completed earlier this year. The second phase, which finished earlier this month, saw the development of three different models for inter-bank payments using blockchain.
Now, the MAS trial is looking at    . . . . . . "      click here to read the full CNBC article
My added comments: Here we have confirmation of something we have been reporting here for some time. At this point, it is too early to tell if Singapore will issue the first central bank digital currency since other countries (like China) are also looking at the idea. However, it is clear that Singapore has established itself as a leader in exploring innovative Fintech solutions and is moving towards some kind of decision in 2018.
One thing to note here is how slowly these things move. This is why when I see articles proclaiming that some kind of new central bank digital currency is "imminent", I take it with a grain of salt. There is no doubt that many central banks around the world are thinking about the idea. However, when you look at what they have said publicly, they tend to hedge on whether or not they will really move forward with it. I suspect that many central banks want to wait and see how the first early adopter central bank digital currencies work in the real world before moving ahead. This is why what happens in Singapore may be a good indicator for how the idea is accepted more globally.
Added note: Singapore also continues to struggle with how to deal with private digital currencies like Bitcoin. This article talks about that.

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