Blockchain for Banking News

Hong Kong invites applications for retail CBDC phase 2

hong kong cbdc ehkd

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has opened applications for the second phase of its retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) trials, the eHKD. The deadline is May 17.

In October 2023 the first round of the pilot phase completed involving 16 participants across a dozen use cases. This time the HKMA wants to delve deeper into particular areas: programmability, tokenization and atomic settlement. That will involve extending some Phase 1 use cases, but it is open to applications not previously covered.

A week ago, the central bank launched Project Ensemble, a wholesale CBDC (wCBDC) project to enable interbank settlement of tokenized deposits and tokenization use cases. The wCBDC sandbox will support the retail CBDC prototyping and use case testing. 

Additionally, the HKMA wants to explore interoperability and interbank settlement between eHKD and “other forms of tokenized money”. That will include the tokenized deposits envisaged in the wholesale CBDC trials, and perhaps stablecoins. Earlier this week the HKMA also launched a stablecoin sandbox.

Hong Kong has a diverse range of digital currency projects. Apart from the wCBDC and retail CBDC trials it also conducted Project Sela with the Bank of Israel exploring a different retail CBDC architecture. One of Hong Kong’s highest profile projects is its participation in mBridge, the cross border CBDC project involving the central banks of China, Thailand and the UAE.

Additionally, it is cooperating with China on the digital yuan. In one of the latest enhancements, Hong Kong visitors to the mainland can top up their digital RMB wallets using Hong Kong faster payments.

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