Hong Kong partners with 16 companies to build CBDCs
On May 18, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the launch of the cyber Hong Kong dollar pilot project. According to officials, 16 selected companies from the financial payment and technology sectors will conduct the first round of trials this year on the feasibility of a Hong Kong dollar central bank digital currency (e-HKD). Companies included in the pilot include Alibaba Group’s Alipay Financial, Mastercard Asia, Ripple Labs, Visa, and HSBC.
The digital Hong Kong dollar will start off with six potential uses cases; comprehensive payments, programmable payments, offline payments, tokenized deposits, Web 3.0 transaction settlements, and tokenized asset settlements. The CBDC is scheduled for a three-stage approach, with the novel pilot program being an important aspect of the second stage.
However, the HKMA has not yet decided whether to officially launch the CBDC. It expects to share the results of the trials at Hong Kong Fintech Week 2023 in Q4. Yue Wai-man, chief executive of the HKMA, commented:
“Although the HKMA has not decided whether or when the CBDC will be launched, we are pleased to launch the Cyber Hong Kong Dollar Pilot Scheme. This is a good opportunity for the HKMA to join hands with the industry to explore innovative use cases and prepare for the possible launch of the CBDC in the future”
Back in Oct. 2021, Mastercard said that it would be preparing its payment infrastructure for integration with CBDCs. Likewise, Visa believes that stablecoins and CBDCs will play meaningful roles in payments and has an ongoing blockchain interoperability project related to the matter.