Blockchain for Banking News

The Philippines aims to complete wholesale CBDC pilot this year

cbdc philippines digital currency

The Philippines plans to finalize Project Agila, its wholesale central bank digital currency (wholesale CBDC) trials this year. That’s according to the Deputy Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Mamerto Tangonan, as reported by GMA News. Governor Remolona previously stated he expected to launch a wholesale CBDC next year or in 2026.

According to the Deputy Governor, the three use cases are interbank settlement, the settlement of securities transactions and cross border payments. The Philippines is an observer of the cross border CBDC project mBridge involving China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the UAE.

The current Philippines tests involve six domestic institutions: BDO Unibank, China Banking Corp, Land Bank of the Philippines, Rizal Commercial Banking, Union Bank of the Philippines, and Maya Philippines.

Tangonan said the pilot “was designed for (a) learning exercise in order to put us in a better position to assess whether this technology is what, itself, claims to be.” Last September the central bank announced plans to use the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain. However, this February the Governor said the CBDC would not use blockchain.

Central bank accounts usually are restricted to commercial banks, and some central counterparties in financial markets. The BSP said the wholesale CBDC would be available to banks and certain financial institutions. However, previous tests including an old one in Canada found that these restrictions can limit the utility of a wholesale CBDC in financial markets. For example, brokers cannot use the wholesale CBDC for settlement.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced its own wholesale CBDC tirals, Project Ensemble.

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