Singapore central bank announces 15 finalists for the global CBDC challenge

August 31, 2021

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today the 15 finalists for the global competition to develop retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) solutions. The finalists, comprising financial institutions, FinTechs and technology solution providers, will progress to the Acceleration Phase of the Global CBDC Challenge, before they pitch their solutions to a panel of judges and an international audience at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said, “The Global CBDC Challenge aims to discover and develop retail CBDC solutions that will benefit the global community. We are encouraged by the strong interest from established financial institutions and emerging FinTechs alike.”

The Global CBDC Challenge attracted over 300 submissions from more than 50 countries, with more than half of the submissions coming from Asia. Participants were invited to address 12 problem statements relating to: (i) CBDC Instrument; (ii) CBDC Distribution; and (iii) CBDC Infrastructure; covering topics such as inclusivity, interoperability and programmability. The proposals from the finalists sought to address multiple problem statements through a variety of technology approaches including hardware wallets, digital identity and asset tokenisation solutions.

The finalists were selected by an independent panel of judges comprising policy and technical experts, academia and senior representatives from some of the intergovernmental organisation partners. They include ANZ Banking Group Limited, Bitt, Citibank N.A., Singapore Branch, cLabs, Inc., Consensys, Extolabs LLC, Giesecke+Devrient advance52 GmbH, HSBC Bank (Singapore) Limited and HSBC Holdings plc, IBM, IDEMIA, Criteo, IOG Singapore Pte Ltd., Soramitsu, Standard Chartered Bank and Xfers Pte. Ltd.

The finalists will next go through an eight-week Acceleration Phase, supported by Tribe Accelerator, where they will develop and refine their solutions. Finalists will participate in masterclasses and networking sessions with industry experts and be given access to the API Exchange (APIX) Digital Currency Sandbox for rapid prototyping of their digital currency solutions.

“The quality of proposals received from the global innovation community was impressive. There was a healthy diversity of solution approaches across the different problem statement categories. We look forward to showcasing the shortlisted solutions at the Singapore FinTech Festival,” Mohanty said.

During the Global CBDC Challenge’s Demo Day as part of the Singapore FinTech Festival 2021, the finalists will present their innovations and the top three will win S$50,000 in prize money each. All 15 finalists will be fast-tracked in their applications for grant funding of up to S$200,000, under the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) Proof-of-Concept Scheme. The solutions of the finalists as well as key insights from the other submissions will be featured in a post-event report.

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