mBridge stands out as the sole international CBDC project in which China has participated. Currently, all participating central banks have CBDCs in the pilot project phase.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) CEO Eddie Yue has revealed plans for significant expansion of the mBridge project, which involves the central bank digital currency (CBDC). In a speech given in Shanghai, Yue stated that tests have demonstrated mBridge’s ability to offer faster, more cost-effective, and transparent cross-border payments.
Originally launched in 2021, the project involved the HKMA, and central banks from China, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes commercial banks and the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub from those regions. Now, mBridge is gearing up for expansion and commercialization. Yue said:
“We are expecting to welcome more fellow central banks to join this open platform. And very soon we will launch what we call a minimum viable product, with the aim of paving the way for the gradual commercialisation of mBridge.”
Here’s How Central Banks Can Participate in mBridge Project
Officials involved in the project have previously emphasized that a central bank doesn’t necessarily need to have its own fully launched CBDC to participate. Currently, all participating central banks have CBDCs in the pilot project phase. To date, only the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Nigeria have officially launched CBDCs, as reported by CBDC Tracker.
The progress of mBridge has garnered attention within the United States Congress. During the markup of Representative Tom Emmer’s CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act on September 20, Maxine Waters, the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, expressed concerns that the project could potentially be used to evade economic sanctions. Experts note that the effectiveness of CBDCs for sanctions evasion hinges on their adoption.
Besides, mBridge stands out as the sole international CBDC project in which China has participated. The digital yuan, a part of the project, represents the world’s most extensive CBDC pilot. The People’s Bank of China has forged numerous agreements with international firms and commercial banks to promote the adoption of the digital yuan. As a result, BNP Paribas China and DBS Bank China have enabled their corporate clients to integrate the digital yuan into their operations in 2023.
Earlier this month, Eddie Yue Wai-man, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, was appointed to a significant position at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). BIS is a prominent international financial institution supported by the majority of the world’s central banks.