UAE Central Bank launch new platform for wholesale cross-border digital payment

asmaa - | Arab News

The UAE Central Bank has achieved a significant milestone by launching the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) platform of the mBridge project, the world's first multi-central bank digital currency (CBDC) common platform for wholesale cross-border payments and settlements.

Introduction of mBridge MVP Platfor

This development signifies a major advancement in the realm of digital currencies, particularly in their application for international financial transactions.

The mBridge project, now in the MVP phase, is ready to be adopted by early users. This platform represents a collaborative effort involving several key financial institutions: the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub Hong Kong Centre, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Bank of Thailand, and the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China. These institutions have pooled their resources and expertise to create a unified system that facilitates seamless cross-border payments using digital currencies.

A landmark event in the mBridge project occurred in January 2024, when Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), initiated the first cross-border payment using the platform. This transaction involved the transfer of 50 million dirhams (approximately $13.6 million) from the UAE to China. This transaction, conducted using the 'Digital Dirham', underscores the practical capabilities of the mBridge platform in real-world scenarios.

The successful execution of this transaction not only highlights the technical readiness of the mBridge platform but also marks a significant step forward in the use of CBDCs for cross-border payments. It is particularly noteworthy as it represents the first instance of a real-value cross-border CBDC payment between a country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and a country outside this region, facilitated by a platform that is ready for widespread adoption.

Technical Readiness and Broader Implication

The mBridge project aims to address several key challenges associated with traditional cross-border payment systems. These challenges include high costs, slow transaction speeds, and a lack of transparency. By leveraging CBDCs, the mBridge platform offers a more efficient, faster, and transparent alternative for conducting international financial transactions. The platform's MVP phase indicates that it has undergone rigorous testing and is now ready to be utilized by early adopters in the banking sector.

This development is expected to pave the way for broader adoption of CBDCs in international finance, potentially transforming the landscape of cross-border payments. The involvement of major financial institutions from different regions further underscores the global interest in and commitment to the development of CBDC technologies.

The launch of the mBridge MVP platform by the Central Bank of the UAE represents a pioneering step in the integration of digital currencies into the global financial system. As early adopters begin to utilize this platform, it is anticipated that the efficiency and efficacy of cross-border transactions will significantly improve, setting new standards for the future of international finance. The collaboration among the participating institutions exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to addressing the complexities of cross-border payments, positioning the mBridge project as a cornerstone in the evolution of CBDC technology.

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