15 December 2017
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Singapore central bank open sources blockchain prototypes

14 November 2017  |  15499 views  |  0 File sharing

An industry consortium led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the island's Association of Banks has released the source-codes of three successful distributed ledger prototypes for inter-bank payments, in an effort to encourage other financial institutions and central banks to experiment with the technology.

First unveiled in November, Project Ubin is a MAS-led initiative to see how DLT can be used for the clearing and settlement of payments and securities, specifically the use of a tokenised form of the Singapore dollar on a distributed ledger.

In a feedback report released in October, the Singapore central bank says the three software models developed in Phase 2 of Project Ubin are amongst the first in the world to implement decentralised netting of payments in a manner that preserves transactional privacy.

The source-codes and technical documentation of the three prototypes have now been released for public access under Apache License Version 2.0 with the objective of encouraging academics, financial institutions and other central banks to re-use the code for their own tests. MAS says that financial institutions may want to reference the privacy-preservation models for internal projects, while central banks could reuse the prototypes to conduct internal trials on domestic inter-bank payments.

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer, MAS, says: “Open-sourcing these prototypes will encourage other central banks to conduct similar trials and engender further development on domestic inter-bank payments. We aim to link up such DLT-based systems in the future for improved cross-border connectivity. This is our contribution to the global financial ecosystem, and a step towards developing cheaper, safer and more efficient cross-border payments.”

The initiative is among a string of announcement from MAS to coincide with the island's week-long fintech festival. These include a joint blockchain development project with Canada's central bank and an R&D link up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab to share research and conduct experiments on the intersection of distributed ledger technology and other related technology areas such as quantum computing and new methods of cryptography.

MAS has also been showcasing the offices and operation of the FS-ISAC Asia Pacific Regional Analysis Centre which currently supports 49 financial institutions across nine Asia Pacific countries in sharing information on emerging cybercrime threats.

Other up-and-coming intiatives include the creation of a Banking KYC Shared-Services Utility that will streamline end-to-end KYC and the publication next week of a Payment Services Bill that will re-calibrate and right-size regulatory requirements to specific risks for new developments in electronic payments.

IBM has joined in the jamboree, announcing announced the successful completion of the Phase I proof-of-concept (POC) of its Shared Corporate KYC project with Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and the Treasuries of Cargill. Big Blue says the project successfully demonstrated how the blockchain-based IBM Shared KYC platform provides a "secure, decentralised and efficient mechanism for banks to collect, validate, store, share, and refresh trusted KYC information of corporate customers".

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