Local FinTechs to lead RBA digital currency pilots

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Local FinTechs and two of the Big Four banks have been invited by the Reserve Bank to demonstrate the potential of Central Bank Digital Currency in Australia.

Each of the 14 pilots will involve Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) that have a real claim on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). CBDCs are a digital form of money, equivalent to Australian dollars.

Some of the pilots include a tokenised foreign exchange settlement system, offline payments, enabling ecommerce across multiple blockchains, automating the collection of goods and services taxes, and tokenising invoices and payments.

The Australian FinTechs leading use case tests are Unizon, NotCentralised, Monoova, Imperium Markets, Fame Capital, Canvas Digital, and digi.cash.

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ANZ is leading four of the use case tests and the Commonwealth Bank leads one. Among the use cases, ANZ will be the sole distributor for CBDCs after purchasing them from the RBA.

Last March, ANZ was the first to make a payment using an Australian-bank issued Australian-dollar stablecoin through a public blockchain.

The pilot project, being jointly delivered by the RBA and the DFCRC, began in July 2022 and was followed by the release of a white paper in September. The use case pilots will commence on March 31, 2023.

The DFCRC’s program director for Australian CBDC Dilip Rao said “the variety of use cases proposed covers a range of problems that could potentially be addressed by CBDC”.

Mr Rao added that the process of validating these use cases will inform further research and design considerations for an Australian CBDC.

Overall, the RBA and its research project partner, the DFCRC, received 140 use case proposals from industry.

RBA Assistant Governor (Financial System) Dr Brad Jones said the central bank was pleased by the “enthusiastic engagement”.

“It has also been encouraging that the use case providers that have been invited to participate in the pilot span a wide range of entities in the Australian financial system, from smaller fintechs to large financial institutions,” he said.

“The pilot and broader research study that will be conducted in parallel will serve two ends – it will contribute to hands-on learning by industry, and it will add to policy makers’ understanding of how a CBDC could potentially benefit the Australian financial system and economy.”

Commonwealth Bank managing director of blockchain and digital assets Sophie Glider added that while the exact roles that blockchain and CBDC will play in the future is uncertain, it is “essential that Australia continues to build our capabilities in this key area of finance”.

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Mark
Monfort

Mark drives innovation with his deep understanding of AI, blockchain, and data technologies. His experience spans over 15 years of contributions to finance, technology, and operational strategy across Australia, Europe, and North America.

In 2021, he transitioned from Head of Data and Technology at a leading Australian accounting firm to startups. Prior to this, he worked in equity and macroeconomic research in the capital markets space.

Mark brings a passion for data and insights to NotCentralised. His understanding of AI and blockchain technology is central to the development of workplace productivity and financial system modernisation products, including SIKE and Layer-C. Mark’s dynamic and solutions-focused methods enable the navigation of complex technological landscapes and new market potentials.

Mark holds an Executive Master’s and a Bachelor of Commerce. He led the creation of the Australian DeFi Association and serves on the advisory board for the Data Science and AI Association of Australia. His commitment to such communities demonstrates his enthusiasm for emerging technologies and vision of positive change through technology adoption.

Nick
Bishop

Nick spearheads product strategy and institutional business development, leveraging a rich background spanning 23 years in capital markets and financial services across the UK, the US, and APAC.

In 2020, Nick transitioned into startups, bringing extensive experience in asset management and corporate advisory from roles including Director, Head of Australian Fixed Income at Abrdn and Managing Director, Head of Corporate Credit at Gresham Partners. His expertise extends to client management across the government and private sectors.

With a First Class degree in Law and Criminology and Chartered Financial Analyst experience since 2002, Nick is known for his energetic and creative approach, quickly appraising business models and identifying market opportunities.

Beyond his role at NotCentralised, Nick actively contributes to multiple startups and SMEs, holding various Board and advisory positions and applying his institutional expertise to early-stage ventures. Nick is fascinated by emerging technologies with significant societal impact and loves to immerse himself in nature.

Arturo
Rodriguez

Arturo leads product development and software engineering, applying over two decades of experience in technology, capital markets, and data science. With his years of programming expertise, Arturo smoothly transitioned into blockchain, AI, and machine learning.

Arturo has built and sold technology startups across Europe, following quant derivatives roles in global investment banks. His prior experience includes data projects for the NHS in the UK, Strategic Technology Advisor at Land Insight, and Senior Advisor to OpenInsight, where he built predictive models for vessel usage in commodity markets.

A mathematics and statistics graduate from Stockholm University, Arturo’s early grounding in logic problems and data manipulation techniques is evident in his practical applications. His work building equity derivative pricing models for Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland showcased Arturo’s highly specialised skillset.

Arturo relocated from London to Australia in 2020. Beyond NotCentralised, his passion for technology and industry involvement extends to the Australian DeFi Association, which he co-founded, and regular contributions to the Data Science and AI Association.