The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that they have developed a blockchain-based multi-currency payment prototype with banking giant JPMorgan. The platform, which will allow payments to be carried out in different currencies on the same network, represents the fifth phase of MAS’s Project Ubin, which began in November 2016 as a collaborative effort between MAS and Singapore’s financial services industry to explore the use of blockchain technology for clearing and settlement of payments and securities.
JPMorgan Marches On
The inclusion of JPMorgan into the folds of Project Ubin is significant because of the bank’s heavy presence in the world of blockchain even at this early stage of its development; the bank launched their blockchain-based Interbank Information Network (IIN) in 2017, since when it has swelled to over 350 members, and they announced their own JPM Coin cryptocurrency was announced in February. John Hunter, global head of clearing and IIN at JPMorgan, acknowledged the progress made on the blockchain front in recent years and how it can help MAS:
J.P. Morgan is excited to be an infrastructure partner of MAS and Temasek for Phase 5 of Project Ubin. By leveraging our key learnings from building the Interbank Information Network (IIN) and the JPM Coin, J.P. Morgan is well-positioned to support the development of a blockchain-based payments network and operate at scale.
Likewise, Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS, acknowledged the power of blockchain technology:
There is growing evidence now that blockchain-based payments networks are able to enhance cost efficiencies and create new opportunities for businesses. We look forward to linking up with more blockchain networks to improve cross-border connectivity. This will be a big step forward in making cross-border transactions faster, cheaper, and safer.
Crucial Landmark Met
The announcement recognizes some of the goals set out for the fifth phase of Project Ubin, which MAS said was a crucial stage that “sought to determine the commercial viability and value of the blockchain-based payments network.” Tech giant Accenture is expected to publish a detailed report on Project Ubin in early 2020, meaning that this development could not have come at a better time.