The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced today a series of initiatives to foster the safe and innovative use of digital money in the nation. These include the unveiling of a comprehensive blueprint for a digital Singapore dollar, the expansion of digital money trials, and the development of a “live” central bank digital currency (CBDC) intended for wholesale settlements.
The MAS is focusing on three key types of digital money: wholesale CBDCs, tokenized bank liabilities, and regulated stablecoins.
The newly published Orchid Blueprint is a cornerstone of these efforts. This document provides a detailed framework for the technological infrastructure needed to support future digital money transactions. Derived from insights gained during the Project Orchid industry trials, the blueprint outlines critical infrastructure components, including a settlement ledger for recording digital money transfers, a tokenization bridge to link existing settlement systems with digital currencies, a programmability protocol for specifying conditions of digital money use, and a Name Service to facilitate easier and more secure transactions.
Expanding on Project Orchid’s initial trials, MAS is introducing four new initiatives with industry players. These trials are designed to test the robustness and commercial viability of the proposed digital money infrastructure. Key trials include a collaboration between OCBC and UOB on tokenized bank liabilities, a pilot by Ant International, Fazz, and Grab for wallet interoperability, Amazon and HSBC’s exploration of supplier financing through digital tokens, and J.P. Morgan’s investigation into institutional payment controls.
In a significant move towards practical implementation, MAS will start developing a CBDC for wholesale interbank settlements next year. This initiative marks the first time MAS will pilot a “live” issuance of wholesale CBDCs, following previous simulations in test environments. The initial phase will involve using this CBDC for retail payment settlements between commercial banks, with potential future applications including cross-border securities trade settlements.
Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, highlighted the importance of these developments. He said, “The “live” issuance of central bank digital money for use as a common settlement asset in payments is a significant milestone in MAS’ digital money journey that began in 2016. The issuance of wholesale CBDC reinforces the role that central bank money plays in facilitating safe and efficient payments.”