Swiss National Bank researches central bank digital currency with BIS and SIX

5.12.2020 | 11:05

The Swiss central bank wants to at least try out the possible advantages of a central bank digital currency.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) have jointly researched the possible advantages of processing payments using a central bank digital currency (CBDC)

According to a corresponding announcement on December 3, the BIS Innovation Hub Switzerland (BISIH) has now successfully carried out two feasibility studies, in which, on the one hand, the connection of existing payment systems with a distributed ledger system was tested and, on the other hand, the processing of payments via wholesale Bitcoin Union was researched .

In addition to the BISIH and the SNB, the market-leading Swiss stock exchange Six Group was involved in the cooperation under the name “Project Helvetia”.

As the stock exchange states in its own communication , the Helvetia project dealt with “the technological and legal feasibility of the transfer of tokenized assets”, whereby the two approaches mentioned above were each considered individually. The platform for this was the Six Digital Exchange (SDX), Six’s proprietary platform, which has not yet been made available to the public, but is to be launched in the future.

However, the cooperation partners expressly point out that the joint experiments should not be understood as a hint for a possible central bank digital currency of the SNB

Andréa M. Maechler, a member of the board of directors of the SNB, emphasizes, however, that the Swiss central bank wants to at least try out possible ways to optimize it:

“The security and reliability of the Swiss financial market infrastructure must be maintained regardless of the technologies that the financial markets will use in the future. If DLT leads to significant improvements in trading and settlement of securities, the SNB will be prepared. “

Although distributed ledger technology (DLT), which also includes blockchain technology, has proven to be a useful tool for payment systems as part of the Helvetia project, it remains unclear whether it is considered necessary for the introduction of a central bank digital currency . In September 2020, the Swiss National Bank and the Deutsche Bundesbank apparently agreed that a CBDC did not necessarily have to use blockchain technology.

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