The Mojaloop Foundation today announced the launch of its Mojaloop Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Center of Excellence (COE) in Singapore to advance financial inclusion in emerging markets.
In addition, the Mojaloop Foundation announced the appointment of Nick Drury, a seasoned executive with nearly 25 years of experience innovating payments technology to drive inclusion, as the Mojaloop CBDC COE Director. Nick will oversee the operations and strategic growth of the COE and its initiatives, such as hackathons, workshops, and pilot projects. Through these efforts, the COE will examine how Mojaloop open source software can leverage CBDCs to reduce the costs and inefficiencies of fast payment platforms and cross-border payments.
The COE will extend Mojaloop’s ecosystem engagement, leverage Singapore’s proximity and connectivity to other regions and connect the underserved with financial services firms and government entities in the emerging digital economy. To help guide the direction of the COE’s initiatives, the Mojaloop Foundation has also formed a Mojaloop CBDC COE Working Group comprising appointees from Mojaloop Foundation members, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coil, Google, ModusBox, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), RedCompass Labs, Ripple and Sybrin.
“The Mojaloop CBDC Center of Excellence will further expand the Mojaloop Foundation’s efforts to advance financial inclusion in emerging markets. Led by our COE Director Nick Drury and supported by our Working Group, the COE will examine the ways in which CBDCs have the potential to make a wider spectrum of Mojaloop-enabled push-payment capabilities available to central banks and their citizens, merchants and digital financial institutions,” said Mojaloop Foundation Executive Director Paula Hunter. “We’re also grateful to our partners, Ripple and Temasek, for their support, and we encourage all interested organizations to get involved in our COE initiatives.”
COVID-19 and the rise of contactless payments have prompted many central banks to consider CBDCs as a way of lowering the cost of settlement. By making digital payments and cross-border transfers seamless, the Mojaloop CBDC COE aims to identify ways to remove the restrictive hurdles and high fees that have been barriers to advancing financial inclusion in the past.
"MAS welcomes the setup of Mojaloop Foundation's first global COE in Singapore. The COE's effort to develop open-source software and a reference model for extending existing payment systems with wholesale digital currency-based settlement networks is a step forward into the future of financial services. We are delighted that Mojaloop has selected Singapore as the global hub to develop its capabilities and extend its ecosystem engagement, connecting the underserved with financial services firms and government entities in the emerging digital economy. We look forward to supporting the COE's effort to foster greater international collaboration in enabling more seamless cross-border transactions." said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS and Mojaloop Foundation Board Advisor.
“With the launch of this initiative, the Mojaloop Foundation will provide leadership and critical learning to help governments and financial service providers understand how CBDCs can support financial inclusion, and what regulations and design features must be in place to facilitate use cases that benefit the poor. Our team looks forward to collaborating with the Center’s leadership and contributors to advance financial inclusion in emerging economies,” said Rodger Voorhies, President, Global Growth & Opportunity at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the Mojaloop CBDC COE’s Working Group members and bring in additional organizations from across the region to investigate the ways that Mojaloop and CBDC technology can solve real-world challenges for emerging markets. By developing potential financial inclusion opportunities such as lowering costs of cross-border payments, the Mojaloop CBDC COE can help emerging economies and the people they serve thrive in the digital economy,” said Drury.