Blockchain for Banking News

Hong Kong creates ‘community’ for wholesale CBDC Project Ensemble

hong kong digital currency ehkd

In March the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) unveiled Project Ensemble, which includes a new wholesale central bank digital currency (wholesale CBDC). It will provide a sandbox to enable interoperability between the CBDC, tokenized deposits and tokenized assets. Today it announced the creation of an Architecture Community for the project. In addition to regulators and the existing academic CBDC Expert Group, it includes seven private sector companies.

They include four banks – Bank of China (Hong Kong), Hang Seng Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Hong Kong – plus Hashkey Group, Ant Digital Technologies and Microsoft Hong Kong. Hashkey Group owns one of two Hong Kong-regulated cryptocurrency exchanges and runs a brokerage, asset manager and tokenization platform, amongst other entities. Ant was recently involved in a tokenized deposit trial with HSBC.

The first task of the Community is to make recommendations about using the wholesale CBDC for interbank settlement of tokenized deposits. And the second initiative is the design and implementation of the sandbox which will launch mid-year.

In addition to the HKMA, the regulators participating in the Community include the Securities Futures Commission and the BIS Innovation Hub Hong Kong. 

Meanwhile, in March, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Hong Kong Telecom, and others published research showing that digital currencies, including CBDCs, tokenized deposits, and stablecoins, could add HK$160 billion (US$20.5bn) or 0.5% to GDP by 2032.