Soramitsu Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, Japan
Wednesday, September 1, 2021

SORAMITSU shortlisted in Global Central Bank Digital Currency Challenge

— A handful of industry leaders were recently selected by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to design the financial infrastructure of the future
Conjointly with the IMF and other global stakeholders, the Monetary Authority of Singapore will hold a competition to develop pathbreaking central bank digital currency applications. A SORAMITSU financial inclusion solution was selected out of over 300 proposals, and will be premiered at the Singapore FinTech Festival.
Over the past year, the number of countries piloting central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) has doubled. This momentum is driven by professional consensus on the need for central banks to harness the benefits of fintech while mitigating risks.

On the 28th of June 2021, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced an effort to expedite central bank digital currency innovation via the Global Challenge for Retail CBDC Solutions. In conjunction with the IMF, World Bank, ADB, UNCDF, UNHCR, UNDP, OECD, and numerous technical partners, the MAS developed 12 problem statements centred on CBDC instruments, distribution, and infrastructure.

Over 300 proposals were submitted, from which 15 finalists were selected. The finalists represent a mix of multinationals such as IBM, fintech giants such as Consensys, and innovators such as SORAMITSU, designer of Hyperledger Iroha and Bakong, the world's first blockchain-based, central bank-operated digital currency.

SORAMITSU leverages blockchain to foster financial inclusion

The application proposed by SORAMITSU is based on our experience co-developing the Bakong payment infrastructure with the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC). Bakong consists of a distributed ledger maintained by the NBC and a set of payment gateways maintained by commercial financial institutions, and can be classified as an indirect or hybrid CBDC or a narrow bank digital currency.
Bakong offers Cambodians the chance to make and receive peer-to-peer and point-of-sale payments using only a smartphone and registered phone number, thereby reducing barriers to participation in the formal financial system for individuals and MSMEs alike. Currently, Bakong is expanding into the cross-border payments space, with the first iteration in Malaysia and other Asian countries soon to follow.
Taking Bakong as a starting point, SORAMITSU envisions a future in which the unbanked and underbanked can access financial services and products such as microloans without exposing themselves, or lending institutions, to undue financial risks or data protection risks. The solution proposed by SORAMITSU to the Monetary Authority of Singapore is an overlay application that enables financial institutions to query CBDC payment data necessary for the specification of tailored financial services, securely and under conditions of data minimization and informed consent.
Next steps

The Global CBDC Challenge finalists will participate in an eight-week acceleration phase supported by MAS technical partners Amazon Web Services, Mastercard, Partior, R3, Hyperledger, the Mojaloop Foundation, the API Exchange and Tribe Accelerator. Finalists will present their solutions during the 2021 Singapore FinTech Festival (8-12 November), and will be fast-tracked for funding under the Monetary Authority of Singapore Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Proof-of-Concept Scheme.

SORAMITSU is honoured to have been selected as a finalist, and looks forward to sharing the details of our solution in the coming weeks.
"The Global CBDC Challenge aims to discover and develop retail CBDC solutions that will benefit the global community [...] The quality of proposals received from the global innovation community was impressive." Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS

"We are humbled to have been chosen to participate in the next stage of the MAS CBDC Challenge. This challenge will bring many parties together to raise awareness of the technological and societal possibilities created through the judicious application of cutting-edge technologies." Andrew Wong, Chief Operating Officer, SORAMITSU Co., Ltd.

SORAMITSU is a Japanese fintech company with expertise in creating blockchain-based infrastructure, payment systems, and identity solutions.

  • Together with the National Bank of Cambodia, SORAMITSU developed Bakong, the world's first blockchain-based CBDC and retail payments system to be launched by a central bank.

  • SORAMITSU is the original developer of and main contributor to Hyperledger Iroha, an open-source permissioned blockchain platform aimed at helping businesses and financial institutions manage their digital assets and identities. Hyperledger Iroha is part of the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Project.

  • SORAMITSU received a Web3 Foundation grant to develop KAGOME, the C++ implementation of the Polkadot Host, as well as Polkaswap, a decentralized token exchange platform.

  • The company also received grants from the Kusama Treasury to develop Fearless Wallet, a mobile client tailor-made for peer-to-peer, non-custodial transactions on the Kusama and Polkadot networks with premium features and user experience.

  • SORAMITSU was contracted by Filecoin developer Protocol Labs to develop FUHON, the C++ implementation of the Filecoin platform.

  • SORAMITSU has also developed SORA, a groundbreaking decentralized economic system aimed at changing the way goods and services are brought to market. See for more information, then download the app from the Google Play Store or the AppStore on iOS.
  • SORAMITSU is currently pursuing research and innovation cooperations on numerous blockchain use-cases with a range of partners, including high-profile intergovernmental organisations and industry consortia.