Singapore, the World Bank and others are offering a $150,000 prize to the winner of a global competition to create a workable central bank digital currency

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Singapore, the World Bank and others are offering a $150,000 prize to the winner of a global competition to create a workable central bank digital currency
Trophy and confetti. Anna Efetova
  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore is holding a central bank digital currency competition.
  • Participants have until July 23 to submit proposals for a CBDC for retail use.
  • The top three will be announced on November 8 and the winners will each take home $150,000.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Monday it will join forces with a number of supranational organizations to launch a competition to design a central bank digital currency for retail use.

Its partners include the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This competition will award three winners $150,000 each for coming up with a proposal for a central bank digital currency - known as a CBDC - that can overcome the existing challenges around distribution and infrastructure.

MAS hopes the contestants, who have until July 23 to submit their proposals, will address the 12 "problem statements" that many countries have listed as barriers to rolling out CBDCs of their own, as momentum in the cryptocurrency space picks up.

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"Central banks worldwide are actively exploring issuance of digital currencies, and are confronted with a wide range of policy and technology challenges," MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty said.

The 12 statements address such issues as security of data and transactions, decentralization, privacy and ease of use, among others. Contestants must also ensure their proposed CBDC is cost effective, accessible, and has financial stability and integrity.

A survey by the Bank for International Settlements released earlier this year showed nearly every central bank in the world has looked into issuing a digital currency.

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Data by BIS suggests that from 2019 to 2020, the number of central banks who believed a retail CBDC was possible in the medium term doubled.

The Bank of England has said it is looking into the possibility of a digital pound, while the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve are also doing their own research. China is piloting a digital yuan in various parts of the country.

MAS itself has also conducted in-depth research into the possibility of its own CBDC, while the small island nation of the Bahamas already launched its own "sand dollar" digital coin.

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MAS said it would announce the winner on November 8 this year.

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