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
, 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