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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

BoG executes first cross-border transaction using eCedi –

The country has successfully executed its first cross-border trade transaction using digital credentials, the eCedi central bank digital currency (CBDC), and a Singaporean stablecoin.

The landmark pilot was part of Project DESFT (Digital Economy Semi-Fungible Token), a collaborative initiative between the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Addressing the launch event at the just ended 3i Africa Summit, Mr. Kwame Oppong, Director of the Fintech and Innovation Office at BoG, noted the milestone as a significant step forward for Ghana’s digital economy.

“Project DESFT is aimed at supporting SMEs in Africa to engage in international trade by removing significant obstacles they face, such as establishing trust with overseas trade partners and obtaining support in cross-border payments and supply chain finance,” he stated.

The project’s first phase focused on developing a trusted credential system that enables SMEs to transform key information, such as licenses and trade records, into verifiable digital credentials on a secure distributed ledger. Phase two successfully executed a live cross-border transaction between Ghana and Singapore, leveraging the DESFT solution, Universal Trusted Credentials (UTC), a Singaporean stablecoin (xSGD), and Ghana’s eCedi CBDC.

“The live transactions further demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing the proposed Ghanaian domestic retail CBDC platform, the eCedi in cross-border transactions,” Mr. Oppong explained. “This affirms the potential of the eCedi system demonstrated for future interoperability with various cross-border credential and payment platforms.”

The eCedi, Ghana’s upcoming retail CBDC, is expected to significantly enhance the country’s payment ecosystem, fostering inclusive growth and innovation while improving consumer experiences. By enabling Ghanaian micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in international trade cost-effectively through interoperability with the DESFT system and verifiable credentials via UTC, the eCedi could revolutionize cross-border commerce.

“We believe that the new generation of financial technology offers innovative approaches to these challenges,” Mr. Oppong stated.

“After nearly a year and two phases of development, we have crafted a reliable information exchange solution founded on UTC standards and Semi-fungible Token technology. Furthermore, we have rigorously tested a cross-border payment solution built upon the principles of Purpose Bound Money (PBM) and conducted real trade experiments which fully align with our predetermined objectives,” he added.

While Project DESFT marks a significant milestone, Oppong emphasized that the initiative is ongoing, with the next phase focused on automating digital credential processes, programmable payments across multiple digital currencies, and supporting supply chain finance.

The successful pilot comes as Ghana prepares for the long-awaited launch of the eCedi, initially slated for 2026 but delayed due to economic dislocation caused by the events of 2022.

In a recent statement, the Bank of Ghana reassured the public that progress toward launching the eCedi is ongoing, with the central bank adopting a retail token-based CBDC model stored locally on various devices, replicating traditional attributes of physical cash while incorporating additional functionalities.

Source: thebftonline.com

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