Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) has welcomed Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) evaluation of the potential of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), adding that the group looks forward to playing a major role in its development.
“BNM is basically exploring an area where every central bank around the world is exploring right now because of the new technology that exists in transferring files, materials and money through distributed ledger technology and the existence of cryptocurrencies,” said Maybank president and group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Abdul Farid Alias.
“CBDC has become more crucial for central banks to figure out and introduce them. In the process [of doing so], it will help transform the economy to a 100% digital economy, or rather, from the payment perspective,” Abdul Farid told a press conference in conjunction with Maybank’s annual general meeting on Thursday (April 14).
Abdul Farid said there is a need for Maybank to better understand the technology involving CBDC.
“We do not want to make unnecessary investments because technology changes over time, hence we want to make sure that we select the right time and the right technology for the benefit of the country,” Abdul Farid said.
Meanwhile, Maybank’s chairman Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa said that Maybank has no choice but to look into CBDC as the rest of the world is looking into it.
“I do not think there will be a knee-jerk reaction from anyone [on CBDC]. I am sure all the necessary aspects of this will be debated and agreed to before [the implementation of CBDC] happens.
“Something like [CBDC] if not exactly this, I foresee will happen in the future, that is just how the world has moved in the digital era but then I think it will be in a controlled manner. We are happy to participate in any way we can with what BNM is doing,” Zamzamzairani said.
On March 24, Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Mohd Shahar Abdullah said in the Dewan Negara that BNM was actively evaluating the potential of a CBDC driven by the growing technology and payment landscape.
Two days earlier, BNM said it had, together with the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the South African Reserve Bank, developed the prototypes for a common platform that would enable international settlements using multiple central bank digital currencies.
This project — dubbed Project Dunbar and led by the Innovation Hub’s Singapore Centre — has proven that financial institutions could use CBDCs issued by participating central banks to transact directly with each other on a shared platform, said BNM.