Central banks in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa will conduct a cross border payments trial using different central bank digital currencies (CBDC) to assess if this allows transactions to be settled more cheaply and easily, the banks said on Thursday. Many governments and central banks around the world are exploring the use of CBDCs, which are digital forms of existing currencies. Some, like China, are trialling retail-focused CBDCs designed to replicate cash in circulation, while others are considering using so-called wholesale CBDCs to improve the internal workings of their financial systems. This latest project aims to develop prototype shared platforms for cross-border transactions using multiple CBDCs, said the statement from the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the South African Reserve Bank, and the Bank of International Settlement’s Innovation Hub, which is leading the scheme. These platforms would enable financial institutions to transact directly with each other in CBDCs, which could eliminate the need for intermediaries and reduce the time and cost of transactions.