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MAS to embrace blockchain for international payments

Singapore’s central bank has reaffirmed its commitment to using blockchain technology for international payments.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon used his speech at the recent Money 20/20 Asia conference to tell the audience that the city-state’s blockchain plans, dubbed ‘Project Ubin,’ will “solve the challenge” of increasing efficiency in the region.

“One of the potentially strongest use cases of crypto tokens is to facilitate cross-border payments in traditional currencies,” said Rubin.

“This is the challenge that Singapore’s Project Ubin has set itself to solve – to use blockchain technology to enable entities across jurisdictions to make payments to one another, without intermediaries and with greater speed and efficiency and at lower risk and cost.

Menon also said that the MAS has partnered with Bank of Canada “to test and develop a cross-border solution using crypto tokens issued by the two central banks.”


Both Singapore’s government and the MAS have proved optimistic on the transformative potential of blockchain technology and the city state has provided a relatively friendly environment for cryptocurrency businesses. This is perhaps not surprising, given that the MAS’s chairman is also deputy prime minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was Singapore’s finance minister from 2007 to 2015.

The MAS’s chief fintech officer, Sopnendu Mohanty, said last month that he regards the development of Project Ubin as an example of “fabulous blockchain technology”, although it will be two more years before there is evidence of “real impact”.

Singapore’s neighbours are also keen to develop blockchain-based remittances, with Japan and South Korea planning similar schemes. Last March, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, partnered with global blockchain payments provider BitPay to compete in the international remittances market.

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