Singapore’s MAS announces successful DLT project at launch of Money20/20 Asia | Digital Asia

By Caroline Bowler, who is is the Managing Director of Bowlah PR, Asia's first Fintech specialist PR agency.  Based in , Caroline enjoyed a previous career in financial services and has maintained her love for the industry ever since. Follow her on Twitter @carobowler or @BowlahCom. Some more by her for Irish Tech News here.

Photo above. L to R Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer Monetary Authority of Singapore, Greg Gibb, Chairman and CEO Lufax, Ken Zheng COO LianLian Pay, Philip Thomas CEO Ascential Events. 

At the launch of Money20/20 Asia in Singapore, financial regulator the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the results of their latest proof-of-concept. Entitled Project Ubin, it uses distributed ledger technology (DLT) to process domestic interbank settlements. It successfully trialled the Singapore dollar in a digital format to aide the settlement process. It also tested methods of connecting bank systems to a DLT, along with the national payment system, MEPS+.

From this early success, MAS now plans two further spin-offs. The first will involve using DLT to enhance trading and settlement in the local fixed income market, a project driven by the Singapore Exchange (SGX). The second focuses on cross border payments using central bank digital currency. Both hold the potential to significantly impact financial services. Streamlining trading and settlement will minimise risks to market participants and reduce operational costs for banks and financial institutions. Similar advantages in risk reduction and cost curtailment would equally apply to cross border payments.

Unsurprisingly, industry reaction was enthusiastic. Pranav Seth, head of fintech and innovation group for local bank OCBC outlined payments as “a key building block for other asset exchanges to happen on a distributed ledger.” Rohit Joshi, head of global liquidity & cash management at HSBC Singapore detailed how the bank is leveraging DLT to “improve security and customer experience in cross-border financial transaction.” Eight banks participated in the proof-of-concept, with Phil de Gosselin, Chief Administrative Officer, J.P. Morgan, describing the project as an “industry-wide collaborative effort.”

The announcement came at the launch of Money20/20 Asia, due to arrive in Singapore in March 2018. Speaking separately at the event, was Greg Gibb, Chairman and CEO of Lufax, the world's second-largest fintech firm. Talking about future plans, he shared that Lufax are looking to extend business in to Singapore, describing opportunities in South-East Asia as “where China was six years.” Also present was Ken Zheng, COO of LianLian Pay, a Chinese payment service provider who have seen recent transaction volume reach US$60 billion via their mobile payments. Hosting the afternoon event was Philip Thomas, CEO Ascential Events. He explained that their decision to hold Money20/20 Asia 2018 in Singapore was due to it's “thriving FinTech ecosystem” and the infrastructure needed to deliver a world class event. The city-state stands ready!

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