AFIN teams up with R3 to push digital currency innovation

The ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN) — a not-for-profit entity jointly formed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the ASEAN Bankers Association — has partnered with global enterprise software firm R3 to enable banks and fintechs to build and test Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) applications, and drive its innovation globally.

Through this collaboration, AFIN will launch a new digital currency sandbox in API Exchange (APIX), and R3 will be the first partner organisation to provide APIs for building applications using Digital Currencies. 

Select APIs of R3 Sandbox for Digital Currencies, a learning and development platform for CBDC experimentation used by global financial institutions and regulatory bodies, will be listed on the APIX from August 2021. 

Also, developers can create and edit code, integrating R3’s APIs and others across different solution domains in APIX’s marketplace by leveraging the cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE). 

Pieter Franken, independent advisor of AFIN, said this collaboration will provide financial institutions and fintechs on APIX with tools to build CBDC applications for new payment rails and multi-currency payment systems.

“With R3’s APIs on APIX, we will see financial institutions and fintechs designing new CBDC solutions collaboratively and deploying them as future-ready enterprises,” said Franken.

David E. Rutter, founder and CEO of R3, said CBDC initiatives have gained momentum globally and the ASEAN region is no exception with many central banks, commercial banks and FinTechs advancing the deployment of CBDC pilots, including the long-running Project Ubin in Singapore.

“With our CBDC APIs available to banks and FinTechs globally on APIX, R3 will support participants from the public and private sectors in driving the development of faster and more secure payment settlements across the world,” said Rutter.

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS said, there has been an increasing interest in the deployment of blockchain technologies, which has created a strong demand for more efficient international payment settlements compatible with these technologies.

R3 Sandbox for Digital Currencies is underpinned by Corda, and provides an environment for central banks, commercial banks, exchanges, payment providers, fintechs and more to collaborate and evaluate CBDC use cases, as well as to learn, transact, and test roll-out strategies. Participants can gain full access to the Digital Currency Sandbox directly from R3.