Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore talks about Ubin project: more than 40 cooperative institutions, looking forward to working with China

Reporter: Chen Guojing

Source: China Economic Net-Economic Daily

Editor's note: Original title "Expecting China and Singapore to strengthen cooperation in the digital currency field-Interview with Meng Wenneng, Director General of the Monetary Authority of Singapore"

During the Singapore Fintech Festival and Technology Innovation Week activities, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced a partnership with JP Morgan Chase and Temasek to jointly build a blockchain-based multi-currency payment network. This is part of the existing Ubin project (Singapore's digital currency project), and this cooperation also marks the fifth stage of the development of the Ubin project. Focusing on this project, a reporter from the Economic Daily interviewed Meng Wenneng, the director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

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"We want the Ubin project to be developed on an open platform," Meng Wenneng said. The Ubin project in Singapore was launched in 2016. In the first four stages, the project carried out a feasibility study on a more reliable and efficient alternative to the current financial system, and developed prototypes of three different models to compare the different models in terms of privacy protection, efficiency, and security Performance. In May this year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of Canada successfully conducted the first trial. The Ubin project was successfully connected with the Bank of Canada's Jasper project, and completed an experiment based on distributed ledger technology using central bank digital currency cross-border and cross-currency payment.

In the fifth stage, the key words of the Ubin project are cross-border, multi-currency and commercial value. The project will provide connections and interfaces for other blockchain networks, and confirm the commercial feasibility and value of blockchain-based payment networks.

Meng Wenneng introduced that the project is using distributed ledger technology to solve practical problems. At present, payment is very convenient in Singapore and China. However, if cross-border payments are to be made between Singapore and other countries, the situation is not so simple. For example, if you send money to a bank account in China, the process will be long. Traditional cross-border remittances require not only a handling fee, but also exchange losses. Remittances may take several days to arrive. A large number of small and medium-sized enterprises in Singapore have trade relations with the Philippines, Thailand, and China, but cross-border remittances are costly and inefficient for them. This is one of the problems to be solved-hope to use this project to promote cross-border payment connectivity and make it as convenient as domestic payments.

Meng Wenneng said that on the basis of cross-border payments, the project also hopes to add some value-added services, including insurance and cross-border financial services. This is why the project is now reaching out to many financial and non-financial institutions to attract them to join the network.

"We look forward to more financial and non-financial institutions joining." Meng Wenneng said that the experiments of the Ubin project are methodical, step by step, adding a new feature and a new solution each year, and I believe it will be reached in a few years. aims. Currently, the Ubin project has cooperated with more than 40 financial and non-financial institutions.

Speaking of Libra, which has attracted widespread attention recently, Meng Wenneng said that the Ubin project and stable coins like Libra want to solve the same problem-cross-border payment. For example, in the actual remittance process, the remittance is Singapore dollars, and the other party receives renminbi. "But the question is, can people accept Libra? Can it be used as the main currency?" Meng Wenneng believes that most people prefer to use digital currency in mobile phones for small payment scenarios. "Do you invest your lifetime savings in it? When investing your entire savings and your pension, which currency do you choose? That's the problem."

Meng Wenneng believes that it is difficult to predict the future direction. Maybe Libra or stable coins like Libra can gain people's trust and be widely used in the future. However, if experiments such as the Ubin project are successful, the central bank can rely on itself to interconnect payment clearing systems and solve cross-border payment problems in different ways. "Either way is innovation." Meng Wenneng believes that it is important to maintain an open mind and focus more on solving problems rather than predicting which way it will be in the future.

Regarding the potential for cooperation between China and Singapore in digital currency, Meng Wenneng said that he very much looks forward to working closely with China in this field. The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the People's Bank of China have close ties. The two sides have also exchanged views on digital currency and blockchain. I hope that in the future, the two sides can further expand the cooperation field.