Singapore's Monetary Authority Acknowledges Blockchain's Potential for Cross-Border Transfers

Sopnendu Mohanty, the Chief Fintech Officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s financial regulator, has stated that blockchain technology could potentially expedite cross-border transfers. Mohanty, a former senior executive at Citigroup, also noted that “he does not see much” potential in central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Regulators Began Exploring Blockchain Use Cases In 2016

Mohanty, whose comments came during the Blockchain in Business event held on May 2 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), pointed out that in 2016, lawmakers were not familiar with the various benefits or use cases for distributed ledger technology (DLT).

A couple of years ago, the MSA began experimenting with several blockchain-based solutions, Mohanty revealed. At the time, officials at the MSA had been conducting various tests in order to better understand how DLT-enabled platforms can be used to settle transactions.

Central Bank Digital Currencies May Not Be Useful

According to Mohanty, the staff members at the MSA have now learned how to use blockchain tech to potentially improve several routine business processes. For instance, MSA’s staff has worked on projects which involve using DLT to manage payments in the banking sector. They’ve also explored how blockchain-based payments can be settled against securities and how the distributed ledger can be used to perform cross-border transfers.

As mentioned, Mohanty and his colleagues were not able to find a legitimate use case for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in a typical retail economy.

While speaking at the Blockchain for Business event, Mohanty noted that Canada and Singapore’s central banks had already used blockchain-powered solutions to transact in digital currencies. Commenting on the initiative, Mohanty remarked:

The next wave of central bank blockchain projects can make further progress by bringing technology exploration together with policy questions about the future of cross-border payments.

Cryptocurrencies Aren't Considered Legal Tender

In January 2019, the MAS issued a warning regarding false statements, which had allegedly claimed that Singapore’s central financial institution was planning to launch its own cryptocurrency. In its warning letter, Singapore’s law ministry had also outlined the major risks associated with dealing cryptocurrencies - including their relatively high volatility and their potential to be used to financial illicit activities.

As noted by the nation’s law ministry, cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender in Singapore. The Asian country’s residents were also advised to exercise caution when engaging in cryptocurrency-related transactions - presumably due to the large number of scams associated with them.

Opera Launches Blockchain, Cryptocurrency-Ready Browser for iOS

Opera Ltd., the company behind the Opera browser, has recently launched a new blockchain and cryptocurrency-ready browser for iOS, following the company’s addition of a built-in cryptocurrency wallet to its Android and PC browsers.

According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, the company’s Opera Touch browser for iOS features “crypto wallet integration and Web 3 support,” meaning users can interact with blockchain-based applications through it, as if they were using an extension like MetaMask. The company hinted at the move in March of this year.

The company touts it now offers browsers supporting blockchain-based applications and with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet in various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, allowing users to “seamlessly interact with the next generation of Web 3 applications.”

Currently, the browser only supports ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens, although the company has revealed earlier this year it’s looking to add support for TRON and multiple other blockchains within a  year.

Charles Hamel, Opera’s head of crypto, stated:

We believe that all modern browsers should integrate a crypto wallet. This will enable new business models to emerge on the web. Opera is the first browser to make using crypto on the Web seamless and easy. Following a strong demand from the crypto-community, we are now making this experience available on iOS.

In the press release the company added it believes the “web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow,” with cryptocurrencies being at its forefront. Along with the iOS release, the company announced it partnered with a decentralized-application (dApp) called Marble.Cards, which allows users to turn unique web pages into collectible cards on the blockchain, each being a non-fungible token.

The Opera touch browser itself has a user interface built to let users use large phone screens with ease, as it shifts the navigation towards the bottom of the screen and adds features that make it easy to share pages across devices.

Opera’s main Android browser is also its cryptocurrency-ready browser for the operating system, and it has made it easier for users to buy cryptocurrencies directly from their mobile phones.