Hong Kong And Thailand’s Central Banks Stepped Closer To Implement Joint CBDC For Cross-Border Payme

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Bank of Thailand (BOT), the two central banks of Hong Kong and Thailand, have stepped closer to implementing a joint central bank digital currency (CBDC) for cross-border payments.

More and more we are seeing #Thailand and #HongKong working together as well as other SE Asian nations and they are using #digitalcurrencies for #crossborder #payments. Very interesting stuff to keep an eye on going forward nobody wants to be left #behind — Joel Kovshoff (@Coachkcrypto) January 23, 2020

On January 22, it has been reported that the two banks have officially announced the outcomes of a joint CBDC research project called Project Inthanon-LionRock.

Alongside publishing a joint press release, the banks have issued a detailed 90-page report providing an exhaustive analysis of the potential risks and benefits of CBDCs for real-time money transfers, liquidity management, regulatory compliance, and other aspects of finance.

However, the official announcement reads that after the HKMA and the BOT initiated the Inthanon-LionRock project back in May 2019, the banks completed the joint initiative in December 2019.

The project involved ten participating banks from both Hong Kong and Thailand and featured a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) prototype based on distributed ledger technology. Particularly, Thai participants included banks like Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), while Hong Kong participants included the HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and ZA Bank.

Additionally, the joint report notes that the project is supported by major enterprise blockchain consortium R3, which acts as a technology partner.

Within the project, the banks created a cross-border corridor between Thai baht and Hong Kong dollars in order to allow participating banks to transfer funds and operate foreign exchange transactions on a peer-to-peer basis, which is expected to cut settlement costs and time.

It has been analyzed that the project is based on R3’s blockchain platform Corda and implements smart contracts in order to perform atomic Payment-versus-Payment (PvP) settlements for foreign exchange. A PvP settlement is a mechanism that ensures that the final transfer of payment in one currency occurs if and only if the final transfer of payment in another currency or currencies takes place.

After a successful PoC, the banks concluded that the CBDC has the potential to significantly reduce intermediaries and settlement layers in comparison to the traditional banking payments system as well as prevent risks such as double-spending.

The joint report reads:

“For example, payers can directly and immediately settle payments with their payees via CBDC in a DLT network as opposed to going through via RTGS intermediaries, including banks, involving multiple debit and credit account entries. The infrastructure for these direct payments further prevents double-spending with temporal transaction orders in place.”

Mathee Supapongse, the Deputy Governor of the BOT, was optimistic about central banks implementing emerging technologies like blockchain by claiming that the recent joint CBDC efforts by Hong Kong and Thailand’s central banks are “only the beginning”.

Supapongse said:

“Though our Project Inthanon has come to the last phase, I believe that it is only the beginning of our next journey where central banks and relevant partners collaborate to tackle existing and incoming challenges, as well as enhance our cross-border funds transfer efficiency…just like the old saying “Going together, we go further”

Thus, according to the joint statement, the BOT, and the HKMA have agreed to further proceed with joint research in relevant areas.

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