Hong Kong, UAE, Thailand, and China’s central banks, along with HKMA, are set to launch mBridge, a cross-border CBDC initiative, by mid-2024. This project could disrupt traditional payment systems and encourage further payment fragmentation globally.
In a groundbreaking move, the central banks of Hong Kong, China, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), are actively developing mBridge. This cross-border central bank digital currency (CBDC) project is poised to debut by mid-2024, potentially challenging Swift’s dominant payment infrastructure. mBridge operates under the auspices of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and boasts participation from industry giants like Tencent, the parent company of WeChat Pay.
Notably, HKMA is simultaneously engaged in another CBDC venture known as e-HKD. This digital currency project demonstrates versatile use cases, spanning payments, deposits, and investment scenarios. Eddie Yue Wai-man, CEO of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, envisions e-HKD’s application in programmable payments and novel areas like tokenized deposits and assets. Currently, HKMA is conducting trials with the involvement of 16 major enterprises. HSBC, for instance, issued eHKD to 200 students and staff at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School in September, aiming to explore digital currency utilization. This initiative has sparked interest from financial institutions like Standard Chartered and Fubon Bank, which are delving into the potential use cases of CBDCs, including real estate tokenization.