uae central bank
UAE Central Bank signing up will give this Asian digital currency initiative more momentum. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) will join a multi-currency central bank digital currency project for cross-border payments initiated by Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Bank of Thailand and People’s Bank of China (PBC).

The CBUAE along with the Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) of PBC is now part of the second phase of the Project Inthanon-LionRock1, initiated by the HKMA and the BOT. This effort is strongly supported by the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub Centre in Hong Kong and has been renamed 'Multiple Central Bank Digital Currency (m-CBDC) Bridge project'.

Building on the experience learnt from Project Inthanon-LionRock, the m-CBDC Bridge project will further explore capabilities of distributed ledger technology (DLT) or blockchain.

Read More

Real-time forex payments

By developing a proof-of-concept (PoC) prototype, the project aims to facilitate real-time cross-border foreign exchange payment-versus-payment transactions on a 24/7 basis. It will also explore business use cases in a cross-border context, using domestic and foreign currencies.

Following the joining of CBUAE and the PBC DCI, the project will foster an environment for more central banks in Asia as well as other regions to jointly study the potential of blockchain technology in enhancing the financial infrastructure for cross-border payments.

Eventually, the outcome is expected to alleviate the pain points in cross-border fund transfers, such as inefficiencies, high cost and complex regulatory compliance. Most importantly, participating central banks will take into account the results of the PoC work to evaluate the feasibility for cross-border fund transfers, international trade settlement and capital market transactions.

Fintech Co-operation with Hong Kong

The CBUAE and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration on fintech between the two authorities, with a view to strengthening co-operation between the two jurisdictions in promoting innovative financial services and regulatory development.

The MoU was signed by Abdulhamid M. Saeed Alahmadi, Governor of the CBUAE and Mr Eddie Yue, Chief Executive of the HKMA. Under the MoU, the two authorities have agreed that the CBUAE will join the multiple central bank digital currency bridge (m-CBDC Bridge) project collaboratively implemented by the HKMA, the Bank of Thailand, the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China and the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub Centre in Hong Kong.

“We are very pleased to embark on this journey with an esteemed institution as the HKMA. CBUAE has recently completed a wholesale CBDC proof of concept project with the Saudi Central Bank to settle domestic and cross-border transactions using central bank money on a distributed ledger technology. Building on this momentum, CBUAE is very excited to be able to use the experience gained so far and participate in the m-CBDC Bridge project. The MoU will certainly set the stage for future joint experimentation of digital innovation between CBUAE and the HKMA,” said Alahmadi.