Singapore CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

Economic Information

Monetary Base


Cash Issued




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Freedom Rankings

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Singapore is in the pilot phase. The Monetary Authority of Singapore was a key participant in the development of two CBDC prototypes led by the Bank for International Settlements. Furthermore, it was reported in late 2023 that Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon announced that Singapore would pilot a wholesale CBDC in 2024.

CBDC History and Development

Starting in 2016, the Monetary Authority of Singapore kicked off it’s CBDC research with “Project Ubin.” The project involved 5 phases that went through 2020. The first phase involved an investigation into using blockchain technology for interbank payments with the companies R3, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd, Credit Suisse, DBS Bank Ltd, The Hongkong And Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, JP Morgan, OCBC Bank, Singapore Exchange, United Overseas Bank, and BCS Information Systems.

In 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced the second phase of Project Ubin had resulted in the creation of three different models for inter-bank payment and settlements. The companies Accenture, ConsenSys, IBM, and Microsoft were added to the project. The projects primarily focused on using distributed ledger technology for real-time gross settlement.

Phase 3 came in 2018 with the development of “Delivery versus Payment (DvP) capabilities for settlement of tokenised assets across different blockchain platforms.” According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, this “will allow financial institutions and corporate investors to carry out simultaneous exchange and final settlement of tokenised digital currencies and securities assets, improving operational efficiency and reducing settlement risks.” The companies Anquan, Deloitte, and Nasdaq also joined Project Ubin at this stage. As the report outlined, a team of 24 people worked on the project.

The 2018 report on phase 4 of Project Ubin covered “alternative models that could enhance cross-border payments and settlements.” Notably, this phase of the project also included the Bank of Canada. The report found that the collaboration “successfully proven the ability for settlement of tokenized digital currencies across different blockchain platforms.”

2020 marked the end of Project Ubin with the release of the fifth phase report. This final stage focused on providing “technical insights into the blockchain-based multi-currency payments network prototype that was built and describes how the network could benefit the financial industry and blockchain ecosystem.”

In an unnamed 2021 project, the Monetary Authority of Singapore collaborated with the Banque de France to conduct cross-border payments using an experimental CBDC. The project was supported by J.P. Morgan’s Onyx platform. Of the results, the report notes that “The design of a common mCBDC network that enabled MAS and BdF to have visibility on cross-border payments, while retaining independent control over the issuance and distribution of their respective CBDC.”

The Monetary Authority of Singapore then participated in “Project Dunbar” in 2021 alongside the Bank for International Settlements, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank Negara Malaysia, and the South African Reserve Bank. This pilot program was designed to explore how to create a single platform that could settle transactions made in CBDCs from different jurisdictions.

Project Ubin was brought back in 2022 under the name “Project Ubin+” to expand the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s “collaboration with international partners on cross-border foreign exchange (FX) settlement using wholesale digital currencies.” Part of this effort involved a collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to “investigate how wholesale central bank digital currencies (wCBDCs) could improve the efficiency of cross-border wholesale payments involving multiple currencies.” This joint project was labeled as “Project Cedar Phase II x Ubin+.” The report from this joint project found that the “project’s three hypotheses related to establishing interoperability and multinetwork connectivity, while significantly reducing FX settlement risk and the time required to clear and settle cross-border payments, were successfully validated.”

In 2023, the Monetary Authority of Singapore also participated with the Bank for International Settlements on “Project Mariana” and Swift’s CBDC sandbox. Project Mariana was a collaborative effort to investigate how a wholesale CBDC could be used to settle foreign exchange transactions between the Bank for International Settlements, the Banque de France, the Swiss National Bank, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Swift’s CBDC sandbox, on the other hand, involved the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Banque de France, and the Deutsche Bundesbank. The sandbox was used to test solutions for interlinking CBDCs.

Later in 2023, it was reported that Singapore would soon launch a wholesale CBDC pilot. Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon said, “I’m pleased to announce that [Monetary Authority of Singapore] will pilot the live issuance of wholesale CBDCs to instantaneously support payments across commercial banks here.” Menon further said, “Since 2016, the [Monetary Authority of Singapore] has conducted many experiments with other central banks and the financial industry to explore the use of wholesale CBDCs on distributed ledgers to facilitate real time cross border payments and settlements.”

Human Rights and Civil Liberties Concerns

Singapore earned a 47 out of 100 in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. The core concerns, as they relate to the issuance of a CBDC, are the oppression of dissenting voices and the use of electronic surveillance without warrants.

The government in Singapore has maintained strict control over the media. According to Freedom House, “Media outlets, bloggers, and public figures have been subjected to harsh civil and criminal penalties for speech deemed to be seditious, defamatory, or injurious to religious sensitivities.” Furthermore, “Prominent activists are subject to police questioning, criminal charges, civil lawsuits, and other forms of harassment in reprisal for their work.” Unfortunately, a CBDC could be used as another tool in this effort. Across the world, governments have often turned to freezing and seizing the money of activists, political rivals, and protestors to undermine the opposition. A CBDC would make such initiatives easier by allowing governments to take direct control of each citizen’s finances.

Law enforcement agencies have “extensive networks for gathering information and conducting surveillance and highly sophisticated capabilities to monitor telephone, email, text messaging, or other digital communications intended to remain private.” Unfortunately, a CBDC could be used to greatly expand surveillance by putting financial records on government databases by default. Financial transactions reveal people’s professions, relationships, locations, and so much more. It is very likely that governments would abuse this data.

For additional information on concerns regarding violations of human rights and civil liberties, see the following reports by Amnesty International, Financial Tyranny Index, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and the U.S. Department of State. For additional information on concerns regarding the risks of CBDCs, see the following webpage and report by the Cato Institute: The Risks of CBDCs and Central Bank Digital Currency: Assessing the Risks and Dispelling the Myths.

For additional information regarding metrics, the methodology page explains each of the data points and provides their respective sources.