Singapore’s CBDC is focused on retail to protect itself from privately issued stablecoins
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has stepped up its efforts to research and develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use in the retail sector.
MAS’s CEO Ravi Menon said Singapore’s retail CBDC, which is being developed in partnership with private institutions, will be “the digital equivalent of today’s banknotes and coins.”
At the Singapore FinTech Festival, Menon highlighted the benefits of CBDCs for retail, enabling faster, safer online transactions and building a comprehensive payment ecosystem.
He also believes that building an in-house CBDC for retailers can reduce investment risks when dealing with privately issued stablecoins or overseas CBDCs in Singapore’s payments landscape:
“The digital Singapore dollar issued by MAS, tailored to meet the needs of the digital economy, can help mitigate this risk. However, issuing a retail CBDC is not an easy decision. “
Given the lack of urgency over the need for a retail CBDC, Menon warned that central banks will not be able to provide enough credit if people hold most of their wealth in digital Singapore dollars:
“But we can manage these risks by designing retail CBDCs with appropriate safeguards, such as inventory and traffic restrictions on the amount of digital Singapore dollars that no one can buy. Anyone can book with MAS.”
MAS previously experimented with wholesale CBDCs under the name Project Ubin to identify different use cases in cross-border payments. The initiative envisages the launch of Partior, a blockchain-based interbank clearing and settlement network jointly founded by DBS Bank, JP Morgan and Temasek.
According to Menon, Singapore will enable regulatory sandboxes based on existing frameworks for market testing of low risk activities in a pre-defined environment.
Related: Singapore is positioning itself as a global crypto hub, the regulator says
Just last week, November 2nd, Menon highlighted MAS ‘proactive efforts in implementing “very strong regulation” to reduce the foreseeable threats that come with the adoption of cryptocurrencies. :
“Crypto-based operations are essentially an investment in a potential future, the shape of which is currently unclear.”
In August, the Singapore-based DBS Bank received official approval to introduce a cryptocurrency exchange, the DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx). As Cointelegraph reported, the new license guarantees institutional trading in major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), XRP and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).