The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has shortlisted 15 “Global CBDC Challenge” participants to help build an in-house retail central bank digital currency (CBDC).
An announcement shared by the MAS shows that the finalists include six companies from Singapore, four from the United States, and one each from Australia, Barbados, Germany, France and Switzerland, of which only three winners will be selected to deploy a retail CBDC in Singapore.
Soon after the Singaporean central bank announced cash prizes for digital currency ideas back on June 28, the challenge reportedly saw the participation of over 300 fintech companies spread across more than 50 countries.
The global finalists include ANZ Banking Group Limited (Australia), Bitt (Barbados), Giesecke+Devrient advance52 GmbH (Germany), Criteo (France) and Soramitsu (Switzerland).
Locally, shortlisted Singaporean consortiums include Citibank N.A., HSBC Bank Limited and HSBC Holdings plc, IDEMIA, IOG Singapore Pte Ltd., Standard Chartered Bank and Xfers Pte. Ltd.
The United States-based companies are cLabs Inc., Consensys, Extolabs LLC and IBM.
This initiative to build a retail CBDC for Singapore will be complemented with a cash prize of 50,000 Singapore dollars ($37,000). As discussed in an older announcement, the 15 finalists will be mentored by the MAS and “be given access to the APIX Digital Currency Sandbox for rapid prototyping of digital currency solutions.”
The sandbox environment will include more than 100 APIs related to core banking and payments and will also have digital currency APIs from Mastercard. The finalists will now have the opportunity to pitch their CBDC solutions at Singapore FinTech Festival, which is planned for Nov. 8 to Nov. 12, 2021.
The Singaporean authorities have been making pro-crypto moves throughout 2021. The MAS recently gave an “in-principle approval” to the Australian crypto exchange Independent Reserve, allowing the firm to “operate as a regulated provider for Digital Payment Token (‘DPT’) Services.”
Singapore reportedly hosts a long list of 170 crypto exchange applicants, including Binance and Gemini, which are waiting for approval to conduct business within its jurisdictions.