The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has partnered with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), alongside the central banks of France and Switzerland. Together, they have initiated an effort to test cross-border trading and settlement of wholesale central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) within the financial sector.
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Known as “Project Mariana,” this pioneering initiative was developed by three BIS Innovation Hub centres—namely, those in Switzerland, Singapore, and the Eurosystem. Joining forces with MAS, the Bank of France, and the Swiss National Bank, the project successfully conducted a proof of concept involving the cross-border trading and settlement of hypothetical euros, Singapore dollars, and Swiss francs.
Project Mariana harnessed the capabilities of decentralised finance (DeFi) technology, leveraging the power of a public blockchain. The project has fundamental components:
- Common Technical Token Standard: A standardised token provided by a public blockchain, facilitating seamless exchange and interoperability among diverse currencies.
- Interconnected Bridges: Bridges designed to facilitate the transfer of wholesale CBDCs (wCBDCs) across various networks.
- Automated Market Maker (AMM): Employing an Automated Market Maker, a specific type of decentralised exchange to trade and settle spot FX transactions automatically.
“As tokenisation and DeFi technologies are still nascent, further research and experimentation is needed. The BIS Innovation Hub and its global partners will continue exploring their benefits and challenges based on relevant use cases,” MAS and its partners stated in a joint media release.
MAS underlined that Project Mariana should be considered experimental, emphasising that it was not indicative of the partner central banks’ intent to issue wCBDCs or endorse any particular technological solution or DeFi.
Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer at MAS, elaborated on the project’s significance, saying, “the project delved into the possibility of executing multi-currency settlement atomically, all while preserving the autonomy of respective domestic settlement systems.”
“This collaborative effort provides central banks with a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the policy, governance, and technical considerations associated with the use of automated market makers for facilitating foreign exchange transactions,” he further noted.
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