Hong Kong national flag. Neerav Bhatt/Flickr
Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys has been awarded a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the organization said in a press release on 25 September.
According to the announcement, ConsenSys will be working on the second phase of Project Inthanon-LionRock, a cross-border payment network between the HKMA and the Bank of Thailand (BoT). The blockchain firm will not be alone in this endeavor, and will work alongside professional services firm PwC and Forms HK.
Charles d’Haussy, ConsenSys’ Director of Hong Kong, said in a statement:
“ConsenSys is thrilled to lead this implementation of CBDC for cross-border payments. We are humbled to work on the development of Hong Kong’s Financial infrastructure.”
Project Inthanon-LionRock was first launched in May 2019, when the HKMA and the BoT signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) in cross-border fund transfers. With LionRock being Hong Kong’s CBDC initiative, and Inthanon its Thailand equivalent, the experiment has the goal of circumventing the correspondent banking network, allowing for direct payments between banks. Through this effort, the banks are trying to overcome existing challenges, such as cost, traceability, and regulatory compliance.
ConsenSys will make use of its full-stack Ethereum products to test solutions for Project Inthanon-LionRock, with focus on interoperability, scalability and security. This will not be the first time the U.S. blockchain firm has helped central banks in designing a decentralized payment network. ConsenSys was among the firms to partner with the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Project Ubin, which explored the use of blockchain and DLT in payments and securities clearing and settlement. It has also worked with the South African Reserve Bank on Project Khokha, which aimed to create a resilient and cost-effective blockchain-based system.
Last month, the company also made the news when it announced the acquisition of J.P. Morgan’s blockchain platform, Quorum. As part of the deal, J.P. Morgan also made a strategic investment in the firm, though the amount has remained unknown.