DBS trials digital Singapore dollar with government vouchers

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DBS trials digital Singapore dollar with government vouchers

By Benson Toti - min read
  • DBS Bank’s pilot will involve 1000 consumers and six merchants.
  • It’s part of the Project Orchid, an effort aimed at laying the technological infrastructure needed for the rollout of a digital Singapore dollar.

Singapore’s DBS, the leading lender across Southeast Asia, has introduced the country’s first Singapore dollar (SGD)-based programmable money pilot for real-world transactions.

In an announcement on Monday, 31 October 2022, DBS Bank said it would be partnering with the Open Government Products (OGP) to trial purpose-bound money-based vouchers. 

The PBM vouchers, according to the banking giant, will use tokenised Singapore dollars to enable real-world programmable money transactions with merchants.

DBS pilot part of digital Singapore dollar project

The pilot program is part of Project Orchid, an effort that’s aimed at developing the technological infrastructure key to the launch of a programmable digital Singapore dollar (DSGD). 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) leads the Project Orchid effort, which brings together government and major payments and financial industry players.

According to Shee Tse Koon, Singapore Country Head of DBS, the pilot is a demonstration of the feasibility of programmable money and its potential benefits to the payments system – including in fostering efficiency, trust and inclusivity.

This solution could help businesses and NGOs leapfrog into the future of money. ‘Purpose bound money’ will be immensely transformative especially when governments, businesses and individuals come together with a collective vision to adopt the use of digital money on inter-connected networks to realise a fully transparent and efficient global financial infrastructure for payments,” Koon added.

The transactions leverages the blockchain, with DBS-issued DSGD used to create the PBM vouchers. The program also relies on OGP-powered smart contract capabilities, allowing for issuance and self-executed distribution to designated recipients.

Success for the pilot could see the use of tokenised SGD rolled out to the benefit of thousands of small businesses. DBS believes more than 28,000 coffee shops, hawker centres and restaurants within Singapore will benefit.

The pilot kicked off on 27 October 2022, and will involve six merchants and up to 1,000 consumers. DBS expects the trial to run for four weeks.