UAE central bank selects technology and legal partners for CBDC project

Technology firms R3 and G42 Cloud have been selected by the Central Bank of the UAE to assist in its development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The two firms will serve as the technology and infrastructure providers for the first phase of the project, while law firm Clifford Chance will provide legal oversight.

This initial phase is expected to last 12-15 months and will comprise three pillars covering cross-border CBDC transactions for trade settlement, a proof-of-concept for bilateral bridges with India and a proof-of-concept for domestic CBDC issuance for wholesale and retail markets.

H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama, the governor of the CBUAE, has called the project a “key step” in the evolution of money and payments that will “accelerate our digitalisation journey and promote financial inclusion”. 

The UAE has been involved in a number of CBDC pilots and proofs-of-concept to date, including Project Aber, which took place in 2020 and, in partnership with the Saudi Central Bank, explored the use of a digital currency to settle cross-border payments.

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