Central Banks, BIS Develop Digital Currencies Platform Prototype


Several central banks and the Bank for International Settlements have developed prototypes for a common digital currencies platform that has the potential to make cross-border payments more efficient.

The two prototypes demonstrate the technical viability of such a platform, the BIS said in a statement Tuesday with the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the South African Reserve Bank.

Codenamed “Project Dunbar,” the development also proves that financial institutions could use central bank digital currencies to transact directly with one another on a shared platform, reducing the need for intermediaries and cutting costs and time.

“A common platform is the most efficient model for payments connectivity but is also the most challenging to achieve,” said Andrew McCormack, head of the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore.

Globally, central banks are trying to come to terms with emerging payment technologies pioneered by tech firms including China’s Ant Group Co. Additionally, Facebook Inc.’s Diem project, formerly known as Libra, is building out a global payments network that could service its own stablecoin or central bank digital currencies.

The rapid growth of cryptocurrencies — which are distinct from digital currencies issued by central banks — is posing a potential threat to existing monetary regimes and adding urgency to debates on handling cross-border money transfers.

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