By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. consulting company Accenture said on Thursday it has been appointed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to manage and develop a blockchain-based platform for interbank payments.
Blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions, leaped to prominence as the technology that underpins the first digital currency, bitcoin. It has since attracted global attention because it can be used to track, record and transfer assets across all industries.
The project aims to improve how central banks and financial institutions deal with the settlement of payments, Accenture said in a statement. It focuses on specific real-time gross settlement features and a liquidity-saving mechanism on a decentralized system without compromising privacy.
The project is the second phase of an industry-wide initiative called Project Ubin, led by MAS and ABS, a group of financial institutions that includes Bank of America Merrill Lynch , Citigroup , Credit Suisse , DBS Bank Ltd , HSBC , JPMorgan , Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group <8306.T>, OCBC Bank , Singapore Exchange , Standard Chartered Bank , and United Overseas Bank .
"This helps to open up opportunity for a wider adoption of DLT-based settlement systems," said Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS in a statement. DLT refers to distributed ledger technology, otherwise known as blockchain.
"We are sharing our learnings and knowledge from Project Ubin to encourage greater experimentation amongst central banks and financial institutions. We look forward to working with other central banks on the use of DLT for cross-border applications," he added.
For the project, Accenture is using the Accenture Liquid Studio in Singapore, a research lab that focuses on emerging technology experimentation and rapid application development to develop and test interbank payment models using three blockchain platforms: Quorum, R3 Corda, and Hyperledger Fabric.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)