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Hong Kong Monetary Authority kickstarts e-HKD retail CBDC pilot

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has kickstarted its e-HKD pilot programme, a “key component” of its approach to the potential rollout of a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC).

A total of 16 firms have been chosen from across the financial, payments and technology sectors to take part in the first round of pilots this year.

The pilots will take “deep dives”, HKMA says, into potential use cases in six categories: full-fledged payments; programmable payments; offline payments; tokenised deposits; settlement of Web3 transactions; and settlement of tokenised assets.

HKMA chief executive Eddie Yue says that while no decision on a retail CBDC has yet been made, the e-HKD pilot “serves as a tremendous opportunity for the HKMA to collaborate with the industry in exploring innovative use cases and maximising our readiness for a potential e-HKD”.

The e-HKD pilot programme forms part of Rail 2 under the HKMA’s three-rail approach to the possible implementation of a retail CBDC.

Through this iterative process, the outcomes and insights gained from each pilot will “help enrich the HKMA’s perspective” and refine its approach to the possible implementation of e-HKD.

To facilitate collaboration between the government, industry and academia, the HKMA also plans to establish a CBDC Expert Group comprised of academics from local universities.

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