Banking News

ConsenSys, Visa, G+D amongst winning Global CBDC Challenge teams

digital currencies

Today the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the three winning teams from its Global CBDC Challenge for retail central bank digital currency (CBDC). They are ConsenSys which partnered with Visa, central bank service provider Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), and Criteo, which used Intel hardware. 

In related news, MAS announced the launch of its retail CBDC initiative Project Orchid earlier this week.

The CBDC competition was organized in conjunction with the World Bank, the IMF and several other global organizations, with a high profile panel of judges including the head of the BIS Innovation Hub, Benoît Cœuré and the representatives of multiple central banks. More than 300 entrants were reduced to 15 finalists in August, with the three winning teams announced today at the Singapore Fintech Festival.

Two of the winners, ConsenSys and G+D, both have CBDC contracts already. ConsenSys has worked with MAS, Hong KongThailandSouth Africa and indirectly, the Banque de France and Korea.

In many ways, G+D has come from behind. Its two current projects are for later-stage retail CBDC work. It’s building a CBDC prototype for Thailand awarded in June and a pilot for Ghana announced in August.

Returning to the MAS Global CBDC Challenge results, ConsenSys worked with Visa on CBDCgo, demonstrating a CBDC that can be used with the existing Visa payments system. Together they built the Visa Retail CDBC Payment module, which integrates with the ConsenSys blockchain infrastructure. 

One of the challenges for CBDC is to balance the anonymity for typical small cash transactions with the need for anti-money laundering processes for large value payments. Criteo’s Atomic CBDC solution uses the Intel SGX chipset, which has secure enclaves that ringfence encrypted data from a computer’s operating system. This allows transactions to be analyzed within computer memory to assess whether the veil of anonymity needs to be removed. It uses Secretarium’s secure enclave distributed ledger technology (SDLT).

G+D Filia’s solution is token-based, cash like, works offline, and does not require a smartphone. It uses a non-standard DLT platform that only stores limited data such as the validity of a token and its denomination.

Each of the victors received S$50,000.


Image Copyright: SzemVik / BigStock Photo