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digital
daily

digital daily: The Second Act

Doors close, lights dim, and noise from the crowd drops to a collective whisper. The spotlight is currently trained on FTX and Binance, but out of the limelight, "DeFi" quietly mounts the international stage. Last week, three groups with regulatory support announced active experiments using DeFi tools in international finance. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) announced a project using automated market makers to facilitate CBDC exchange and improve cross-border payments between France, Switzerland, and Singapore. In conjunction with JP Morgan and others, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) tokenized government bonds for Singapore and Japan, trading both countries' currencies against private smart contract pools on the Polygon network. Elsewhere, UBS launched a "twin bond" that operates on-chain and off-chain parallelly, offering buyers opt-in access to digital rails. Smart contracts and blockchain infrastructure are being identified as the direction of travel for global finance. Yet, we are still squarely in the simulation phase. Private blockchains dominate as a means of retaining ownership and control. MAS' project, which was deployed on Polygon's decentralized network, was a demonstration. Polygon's Ethereum side-chain rails are not yet ready to host large institutional capital flows. These projects turn discussions into live examples. Progress. But they are not a showcase for new applications designed to address institutional users. That is where the market needs to step in. One River Digital will soon launch Onebridge, a growing set of connected applications on the Ethereum blockchain that leverage public, open blockchain settlement and restrict access exclusively to registered institutions. Onebridge is a venue designed to offer a gradually expanding network of institutional participants a home to take their own first steps on digital infrastructure. We are not alone either. New actors are coming to share the stage as the second act for DeFi begins.

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