Singapore’s Retail CBDC Challenge Announces 15 Finalists

The Global CBDC Challenge has found its 15 finalists. The competition created by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) aims to develop retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) solutions.

The finalists 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.

The challenge received more than 300 submissions from over 50 countries. Participants were invited to address 12 problem statements relating to (i) CBDC Instrument; (ii) CBDC Distribution; and (iii) CBDC Infrastructure.

Topics included inclusivity, interoperability, and programmability. The best proposals would seek to address multiple problem statements through a variety of technology approaches including hardware wallets, digital identity, and asset tokenization solutions.

The finalists of the Global CBDC Challenge are:

ANZ Banking Group Limited
Citibank N.A., Singapore Branch
cLabs, Inc.
Extolabs LLC
Giesecke+Devrient advance52 GmbH
HSBC Bank (Singapore) Limited and HSBC Holdings plc
IOG Singapore Pte Ltd
Standard Chartered Bank
Xfers Pte. Ltd.

Many firms in this list have already established themselves as leaders in digital asset technology. Finalists will now embark an eight-week Acceleration Phase, supported by Tribe Accelerator, where they will develop and refine their solutions.

Then, they 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.

In Demo Day, the top three presentations will win S$50,000 in prize money each and 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.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, commented: “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 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.”

The Global CBDC Challenge seeks innovative retail CBDC solutions to enhance payment efficiencies and promote financial inclusion.

The initiative was launched in partnership with the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Development Programme, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.