Two teams from Singapore and one team from the US have won a global hackathon-style competition focused on innovation aimed to better enabling the development and future use of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub and Bank Indonesia announced the trio of victorious teams in the ‘G20 TechSprint 2022’ challenge, organised as part of Indonesia’s G20 presidency, during a virtual event today (12 October) broadcast from Jakarta today.
The competition focused on technology challenges related to the development of both retail and wholesale CBDCs. Teams were invited to develop solutions in three areas: issuing, distributing and transferring CBDCs; using CBDCs to help with financial inclusion; and using CBDCs to improve interoperability between countries’ payments systems.
An 11-strong expert panel, convened by Bank Indonesia, assessed prototypes developed by all shortlisted teams and picked Dragonfly Fintech Pte Ltd (from Singapore), Bitt-IDEMIA (from the US) and Partior (from Singapore) as respective category winners.
This year’s competition was launched in April and 21 teams representing companies ranging from global corporations to fintechs were shortlisted in July from 99 entries.
Winning solutions ‘provide springboard’
Dragonfly Fintech won the ‘Effective and robust means to issue, distribute and transfer CBDCs’ category for the team’s ‘End-to-End CBDC Solution’ – a proprietary blockchain ledger that includes a mobile wallet and digital identity platform.
Bitt-IDEMIA won the ‘Enabling Financial Inclusion’ category for the team’s ‘Secure Offline CBDC Payment Solution’ – a platform that allows monetary authorities to launch interoperable CBDCs while also ‘leveraging on a layer-2 solution to enable offline payments’.
Partior won the ‘Improving interoperability’ category for the team’s ‘Project Naucratis: Enabling Connectivity & Interoperability for mCBDC’ solution – a blockchain-based multi-CBDC network that supports both account-based and token based CBDC models.
Cecilia Skingsley, who started as the BIS Innovation Hub’s new permanent head last month, said the TechSprint had “allowed us to improve our practical work on CBDCs”, adding that the solutions “add to central banks’ toolbox and provide a springboard for further development of CBDCs”.
The winners each receive a prize of IDR 770,000,000 (about £45,000). The other 18 shortlisted projects each receive a stipend of IDR 145,000,000 (about £8,500).
G20’s digital payments focus
Indonesia’s G20 presidency – which is running under the slogan ‘Recover Together, Recover Stronger’ – began in December 2021. ‘Strengthening payment systems in the digital era’ is one of six priorities of the presidency’s ‘finance track’.
Bank Indonesia governor Perry Warjiyo announced the hackathon winners from Washington DC where he is taking part in the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting taking place today and tomorrow (12-13 October).
Ahead of their arrival in Washington the Financial Stability Board (FSB), whose secretariat is hosted in Switzerland by the BIS, sent participants its newly released ‘G20 Roadmap for Enhancing Cross-border Payments: Consolidated progress report for 2022’ and ‘G20 Roadmap for Enhancing Cross-border Payments: Priorities for the next phase of work’ – both important documents as the FSB wants national and international regulatory authorities to shift from analysis to implementation in the next phase of activity under its influential global plan, launched two years ago, to improve cross-border payments.
The 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit will take place on 15-16 November in Bali. India takes over the G20 presidency in December.
Previous versions of the TechSprint were co-organised by the BIS alongside the Banca d’Italia (for Italy’s G20 presidency in 2021 and focused on green finance) and, before that, the Saudi G20 presidency (in 2020, focused on RegTech and SupTech).
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‘Shortlisted entries revealed for CBDC-focused G20 TechSprint’ – our news story (12 July 2022) on 21 teams representing companies ranging from global corporations to fintechs being shortlisted
‘Bank Indonesia G20 hackathon focuses on three CBDC challenges’ – our news story (26 April 2022) on Indonesia’s central bank and the BIS Innovation Hub launching the G20 TechSprint 2022
‘Green finance TechSprint winners named’ – our news story (25 Oct 2021) on teams from Belgium, Italy and the UK winning the ‘G20 TechSprint 2021’