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Project Ubin: A Journey of Innovation

Reimagining cross-border payments and settlements through digital currencies with blockchain

Project Ubin: A Journey of Innovation

Reimagining cross-border payments and settlements through digital currencies with blockchain

Introduction

DBS has been a leading partner in Project Ubin since its inception in 2016. The multi-phase industry initiative, led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), explores the uses of blockchain technology for clearing and settlement of payments and securities.

Outcomes of the project phases

DBS is part of the consortium of financial institutions supporting the project, which was successfully completed in July 2020.

Phase 1: Tokenised SGD

  • Launched a proof-of-concept project to conduct inter-bank payments using Blockchain technology. Phase 1 was successfully concluded on 9 March 2017.

Phase 2: Re-imagining Real-time Gross Settlement (RTGS)

  • Developed software prototype of three different models for decentralised inter-bank payment and settlements with liquidity savings mechanisms. 

Phase 3: Delivery versus Payment (DvP)

  • Developed Delivery versus Payment (DvP) capabilities for settlement of tokenised assets across different blockchain platforms, allowing financial institutions and corporate investors to carry out real-time exchange and final settlement of tokenised digital currencies and securities assets, improving operational efficiency and reducing settlement risks. The project demonstrated that DvP settlement finality, interledger interoperability and investor protection can be achieved through blockchain-led solutions.

Phase 4: Cross-border Payment versus Payment (PvP)

  • The MAS, together with The Bank of Canada (BoC), Bank of England (BoE), jointly published a report on 15 November 2018 which assesses alternative models that could enhance cross-border payments and settlements. The report examines existing challenges and considers alternative models that could in time result in improvements in speed, cost and transparency for users.

Phase 5: Enabling Broad Ecosystem Collaboration

  • The final phase of the project explored the development of the multi-currency payments model, to provide connectivity interfaces for other blockchain networks to connect and integrate seamlessly. The work in this phase also explored the value of a blockchain-based payments network for wholesale banking purposes. 
The next leap – Partior

Following the close of Project Ubin, DBS, J.P. Morgan and Temasek are leading the development of a digital multi-currency payments platform to reimagine and accelerate value movements for payments, trade and foreign exchange settlement in a new digital era, through a newly-established technology company.

Partior, which means ‘to distribute and share’ in Latin, aims to disrupt the traditional cross-border payments ‘hub and spoke’ model, that has resulted in common pain points, including multiple validations on payment details by banks, which translate to costly and onerous post transaction exception handling and reconciliation activities.

Partior recognises the need for more efficient digital clearing and settlement solutions across the banking industry, and targets to address these challenges through the use of blockchain solutions to enable next generation, programmable value transfer for participating banks and their clients in real-time across a common and open platform.

The Partior platform has also set its sights on developing wholesale payments rails based on digitised commercial bank money to enable “atomic” or instantaneous settlement of payments for various types of financial transactions. Such functionality would help banks overcome challenges presented by the current standard sequential method of processing global payments.

When complete, the platform aims to provide 24/7 infrastructure that will enable financial institutions and developers to co-create applications that support use cases such as FX Payment Versus Payment (PVP), Delivery Versus Payment (DVP) and Peer-to-Peer escrows to complement and value-add to global financial ecosystems.

To encourage broad participation across the banking industry, Partior will be actively engaging leading banks to join the platform to establish the scale required to benefit the industry.

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