Ripple has defined Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) as a key priority in its 2023 projections and goals, and already boasts notable collaborations with several countries. As Bitcoinist reported, in mid-January the fintech company landed the southeastern European country of Montenegro to pilot a digital stablecoin.
Already in the second half of last year, Ripple was able to announce the island nation of Palau and the Kingdom of Bhutan as CBDC customers. In addition, the company is pursuing numerous initiatives around the world, including the digital pound, where Ripple is involved with the Digital Pound Foundation, which has been in the news repeatedly of late.
In a January panel that was largely overlooked in the XRP community, Brook Entwistle, senior vice president and managing director at Ripple, revealed new details on CBDCs. At the Crypto Finance Conference in mid-January, Entwistle disclosed that his company is very active in Singapore:
We have a very big CBDC practice, it’s now globally based. We’ve actually put four people on the ground in Singapore alone, focused on this.
In the XRP community, this is interpreted as a strong hint that Ripple has established contacts with the Singapore government or even the country’s central bank to push for a CBDC. Whether Ripple is already a partner, however, is pure speculation and remains to be seen.
In November last year, it was announced that the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was exploring the Ubin+ wholesale CBDC project for cross-border payments. The project will test the use of CBDCs for foreign exchange and liquidity management, as well as connectivity between CBDCs and other digital asset networks.
As part of Ubin+, MAS is also participating in a SWIFT CBDC sandbox with 17 other central banks and commercial banks to test cross-border interoperability. It is worth emphasizing that Ripple has not yet been mentioned in any of these announcements.
Ripple Exec Emphasizes Focus On CBDCs
In addition to the statement about Singapore, Brook Entwistle shared other interesting comments about Ripple’s CBDC strategy. “It’s an important effort, it’s an important suite of products,” the exec said, further explaining, “We’ve determined that in addition to our payments business, CBDCs are a very important piece of what we’re going to do.”
Entwistle also cautioned, however, that as part of the industry, Ripple needs to be careful “chasing every new shiny thing” because that leads to diluting business models.
That’s also why Ripple is focusing on smaller governments, smaller central banks that need a holistic solution and sidechains, something that is being created from scratch, he said. In that vein, Entwistle talked about the Kingdom of Bhutan:
Our first MoU is the Kingdom of Bhutan – a very forward looking king, technology advanced. And he wants a better way of moving the kind of value around the country – whether it is payments or other stuff. But also a system to set up so that they can eventually have remittances back in the country as well.
On top of that, the exec revealed that Ripple is in dialogue and working with a number of central banks around the world. “At the China level and the US level, there are a lot of people chasing that. A lot of people have their own sovereign interest, so you have to be realistic about your impact there,” Entwistle also acknowledged.
He concluded by saying that Ripple’s technology could play an important role in the interoperability of CBDCs around the world:
But CBDC will be an important topic for the entire industry going forward and the interoperability between them – we think has a real opportunity for many of us around the table.
At press time, the XRP price stood at $0.3881, trading below the 200-day EMA.