Blockchain Progress News & Updates

Central Banks of Hong Kong & Thailand Partner Collaborate in Crypto

In an attempt to spur #collaboration between both regulatory #bodies in #Fintech and intriguingly a central bank digital #currency, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (#HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (#BOT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (#MOU).

The MOU, which was signed in #Basel on Monday enables both regulators to work together on joint #innovation projects, as well as share #information, #experience and referrals regarding disruptive #Fintech businesses.

CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY

One key area of #collaboration which both #parties look forward to working on is a #joint project on the issuance of Central Bank Digital Currency (#CBDC). While both countries already have individual extensive research and projects on #CBDC – Project Lionrock for #HKMA and Project #Inthanon for #BOT – the hope is that the joint effort and information sharing under the #partnership will produce better results.

Project #Inthanon which aimed at developing a prototype #CBDC alongside R3 and #Wipro has already partnered successfully with almost ten commercial #banks who now use it for decentralized #interbank settlement. #HKMA’s Project #Lionrock, whose goal was to test how well #CBDC will fare on a #Distributed Ledger Technology (#DLT), was carried out alongside the R3 #consortium, three-note issuing banks in Hong Kong and the #HongKong #Interbank Clearing Limited. Both projects have had remarkable #success and according to the #regulators, a joint operation between the projects is currently under #consideration.

According to the official announcement by #HKMA, the #MOU will take move existing #partnership between HKMA and BOT to the next level. #Explaining what this entails, an excerpt from the announcement #reads:

The signing of this MoU not only #demonstrates our mutual #interests in developing collaborative #Fintech initiatives, but also underlines our ongoing efforts in cross-border #collaboration between central banks in promoting innovation and enhancing #experience sharing. The HKMA looks forward to working together with BOT and seeing the positive outcome from our joint #effort.

COMMON GOALS, STRANGE #BEDFELLOWS

While the partnership makes sense on a technical #level, some believe that this does not mean that the #Thai #government is actually willing to embrace #decentralisation, but is rather only looking to explore #Fintech innovation within a narrowly defined set of #criteria. Quoted in the announcement, #BOT #Governor Veerathai #Santiprabhob alluded to the allure of #fintech innovation. He said:

The #synergies from our collaboration will lead to productive outcomes that will benefit us all. I believe there is huge #potential to #enhance quality of financial services by leveraging on technological advancement, and it is our responsibilities as #regulators to create an #ecosystem that is conducive to innovations,the BOT looks forward to working closely with the HKMA in #turning great ideas into innovative #practical solutions that will ultimately improve people’s lives.”

Known as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly financial #jurisdictions, this is Hong Kong‘s latest in a long-running series of #efforts to boost its burgeoning reputation as a global #Fintech #hub.

Whereas in mainland China, cryptocurrency trading and #ICO #investment are completely banned, Hong Kong’s #government uses what is probably of the world’s most open-minded policy #direction on the subject of digital asset regulation. Last year, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (#SFC) set up a framework for the regulation of digital #asset #trading platforms and plans to give operating licences to operators who qualify and make it through the SFC regulatory #Sandbox program.

#Thailand, on the other hand, is a completely differen#proposition. While the Thai #government appears sold on the promise of #Fintech #innovation, it remains to be seen whether it will warm up to #blockchain technology.

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