The Bank of Switzerland prepares to issue a digital currency

As part of a pilot projectthe swiss central bank will issue a digital currencya CBDC. This is a wholesale version intended for interbank exchanges. The issue of a MNBC retail is not excluded in the future.

Representatives of the world’s financial institutions are meeting this week in Paris. Point Zero Forum in Zurich. Among the topics on the program: the future of money and its digitalization.

And as reported by Reutersthe president of the Swiss National BankThomas Jordan, took advantage of the event to make an announcement. The central bank is preparing to issue a digital currency CBDC on the SIX Digital Exchange.

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A major milestone already reached in 2022

SDX is a regulated exchange for digital assets. It will host the future Swiss currency issued as part of a pilot project. It should be noted that this is a wholesale or central bank digital currency (CBDM).

This currency will not be handled by individuals, but only by banks for interbank transactions. For Thomas Jordan, this pilot, which will start up “soon”, is not just a PoC.

It’s not just an experiment. It will be a real currency equivalent to bank reserves, and the aim is to test real transactions with market players”, he insisted at the Point Zero Forum.

MNBC also tested with Banque de France

The Swiss central bank’s website makes no mention at this time of a CBDC pilot project or its modalities. If any press releases refer to the digital currency, they date back to 2021.

The Swiss bank is not starting from scratch. It has already taken part in experiments with some of its counterparts. In June 2021, together with Banque de Franceit joined experiments on a wholesale MNBC. Together with the BdF, it also launched the Mariana experiment in autumn 2022 to test cross-border CBDC exchanges based on MAs.

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Private partners in this project, led by Accenture, include Credit Suisse, Natixis, R3, SIX Digital Exchange and UBS.

Project Helvetia as a foundation

For central banks, it is essential to remain at the cutting edge of technological progress. The Swiss National Bank is already analyzing the settlement of tokenized assets in wholesale NBMs as part of the Helvetia project”, the SNB announced at the time.

What about a digital currency for retail or retail ? The president of the central bank expresses his concern about the potential risks to the financial system of such a move. CBDC. Jordan also points to increased complexity.

We do not rule out the possibility of never introducing [CBDC] but we’re a little cautious at the moment,” he concludes.

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