Swiss National Bank and BIS consider CBDC using blockchain

04 Dec 2020

The Swiss National Bank and Bank for International Settlements are looking into the implementation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) utilising blockchain technology.

The BIS Innovation Hub Swiss Centre (BISIH) has already finalised two proofs-of-concept, Cointelegraph reports, linking current payment systems to a distributed ledger and settling tokenized assets with a wholesale CBDC.

The so-called “Project Helvetia” is a joint venture between the BISIH, the Swiss National Bank and Switzerland's top stock exchange, SIX Group.

According to the exchange, Project Helvetia is due to launch in the near future “offering issuance, trading, settlement, management and custody of tokenized assets” says the Cointelegraph report.

A member of the Swiss National Bank’s governing board, Andréa Maechler stressed that the central bank wants to make the most of the opportunities to improve the country’s financial system with new technologies: “Irrespective of which technologies the financial markets adopt next, the safety and reliability of

Swiss financial infrastructure must be preserved. If [distributd ledger technology] can deliver significant improvements in securities trading and settlement, then the SNB will be prepared.”

Benoît Cœuré, Head of the BISIH added: “If wholesale CBDCs are to fulfil their potential as a new means of settlement, their design and implications deserve close study and consideration. This is only possible via continued deliberations and experimentations among central banks and with other stakeholders, such as market supervisors and the private sector. Given the speed of digital transformation, central banks – and others – need to learn fast to make informed policy decisions.”

Jos Dijsselhof, CEO of SIX said of the initiative: “The outstanding collaboration between all parties over the past year has provided us with deeply valuable insights. It is now crucial that we continue our journey incorporating our learnings and understanding the benefits to ensure that the added value for the financial industry will far outweigh the effort.”