Project Orchid is a multi-year, multi-phase exploratory project examining the various design and technical aspects pertinent to a retail CBDC system for Singapore, from its functionalities to its interaction with existing payment infrastructures. Though MAS has assessed that there is no urgent need for a retail CBDC in Singapore at this point in time, MAS seeks to facilitate ongoing learning and advance the financial infrastructure in Singapore.
- Develop the technology infrastructure and technical competencies necessary to issue a retail CBDC (i.e., a digital version of Singapore dollar cash)
- Explore potential use cases for a programmable money in Singapore
Rather than building a CBDC ledger first, the project has taken a user driven approach instead. The first phase of the project aims to uncover potential use cases for a programmable digital SGD and the infrastructure required. Subsequent phases of Project Orchid will investigate the optimal ledger technology to build out a CBDC as well as its integration to the existing financial market infrastructure.
Phase 1 - PBM
Purpose Bound Money (PBM), explored in Phase 1 of Project Orchid, builds upon the concept and capabilities of programmable payment and programmable money. PBM refers to a protocol that specifies the conditions upon which an underlying digital currency can be used. PBMs are bearer instruments, with self-contained programming logic and transferrable between two parties without intermediaries.
Usage Patterns Table
This table examines how a person would use a PBM under different scenarios.
Phase 1 features four trials:
- Government Vouchers: At the 2022 Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF 2022), DBS Bank Ltd (DBS) and GovTech’s Open Government Products Division (OGP) will test the use of PBM for disbursements to selected individuals. Trial participants can use RedeemSGvouchers at participating food and beverage outlets, and merchants will directly receive the underlying digital SGD for the vouchers redeemed.
- Commercial Vouchers: Temasek, StraitsX and Grab will test the issuance of PBMs as commercial digital vouchers to participants at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2022. Trial participants can utilise the PBM vouchers through their preferred wallet applications to offset goods purchased.
- Government Payouts: OCBC Ltd (OCBC) and the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) will test the use of PBM for funds disbursement from government agencies, without requiring recipients to have a bank account. The trial will be conducted using a test disbursement scheme in a controlled environment with selected participants.
- Managing Learning Accounts: United Overseas Bank Ltd (UOB) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will test the use of PBM to enhance the current SSG Credit disbursement process, enabling SkillsFuture grants to automatically be released to participating training providers when eligibility conditions are met.
Things to note:
Members of the public should note that:
- MAS and companies participating in MAS’ initiatives will not ask for your personal banking information, security login credentials or private keys to digital wallets.
- MAS advises the public to be alert and wary of unsolicited calls or messaging which offer deals that seem too good to be true; request personal information; give instructions to transfer funds to a third party account or offer investments into projects.