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Consortium led by MAS and ABS develops software prototypes for decentralised inter-bank payments using blockchain technology

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) announced today that the consortium which they are leading has successfully developed software prototypes of three different models for decentralised inter-bank payment and settlements with liquidity savings mechanisms.

The project, conducted together with 11 financial institution and five technology companies[1], is the Phase 2 of Project Ubin, which explores the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), commonly known as blockchain technology, for clearing and settlement of payments and securities.

The Project was revealed at last year’s Singapore FinTech Festival in November and the completion of Phase 1 was announced in March 2017. Phase 1 achieved the objectives of producing a digital representation of the Singapore Dollar (‘SGD-on-ledger’) for interbank settlement, testing methods of connecting bank systems to a DLT, and making the MAS Electronic Payment System (MEPS+) interoperate with DLT for automated collateral management.

The three software models developed in the second phase are amongst the first in the world to implement decentralised netting (aggregating and offsetting the value of multiple positions or payments due to be exchanged between two or more parties) of payments in a manner that preserves transactional privacy.

Existing netting programmes used in inter-bank payments rely on a single payment queue visible to the operator to find offsetting payments. However, decentralising the queue potentially exposes payment details to an unauthorised party. The latest models in Project Ubin achieve a superior combination of decentralisation and privacy.

A report will be published on the project findings and details of the prototypes developed, during the Singapore FinTech Festival, which will be held from 13 to 17 November. The report is expected to aid central banks and financial institutions embarking on the use of DLT, in understanding the platform characteristics and design considerations of commonly used DLT platforms.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said, “A key outcome of the consortium’s effort is the ability to perform netting while protecting the privacy of transactions. This helps to open up opportunity for a wider adoption of DLT-based settlement systems. We are sharing our learnings and knowledge from Project Ubin to encourage greater experimentation amongst central banks and financial institutions. We look forward to working with other central banks on the use of DLT for cross-border applications.”

“Project Ubin has brought the banks together in experimenting with DLT in a collaborative, open and transparent manner. We see immense benefits from a successful industry collaboration that creates a vibrant ecosystem. We are encouraged that this outcome could potentially be leveraged on by the banks to catalyse the development of more innovative solutions,” added Ong-Ang Ai Boon, Director, ABS.

Featured image: Davidstankiewicz/ CC BY-SA 4.0

[1]The participating financial institutions are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, DBS Bank Ltd, HSBC Limited, J.P. Morgan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, OCBC Bank, Singapore Exchange, Standard Chartered Bank, and United Overseas Bank. Accenture was appointed to manage and develop the prototypes. R3, IBM, and ConsenSys were engaged to provide support on the respective DLT platforms of Corda, Hyperledger Fabric and Quorum. Microsoft was engaged to support the deployment of the prototypes on Azure Blockchain.

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