France, Switzerland run multicurrency wholesale CBDC trial – Ledger Insights


Today, the BIS Innovation Hub shared the results of Jura project, the wholesale central bank digital currency project (wCBDC) which involved both the Banque de France and the Swiss National Bank.

Other participants included SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), Natixis, UBS, Credit Suisse, Accenture and R3.

The experiment aimed to enable instant settlement of foreign currency transactions as PvP and the use of wholesale CBDCs to pay for tokenized commercial paper transactions as delivery versus payment. With immediate settlement and no middlemen, the solution reduces both costs and risks. The transactions are all realistic insofar as they comply with the regulations in force.

“The Jura project explores how distributed ledger technology can be successfully exploited to determine what a sustainable cross-border settlement between financial institutions might look like,†said Andréa M Maechler of the Swiss National Bank.

SDX’s test platform hosted the experience in multiple jurisdictions, supported by R3’s enterprise blockchain technology.

“The Jura project shows that wCBDC can provide a secure, fast and efficient way to use central bank money to settle international currency and securities transactions on one production platform – our own SIX Digital Exchange », Said Jos Dijsselhof, CEO of SIX.

Qualifying non-resident financial institutions were permitted to hold a CBDC in foreign currency. In this case, Credit Suisse and UBS sometimes held digital euros, and Natixis held digital francs.

How it worked

There were three subnets on the SDX test platform: the wholesale digital euro, the wholesale Swiss franc, and a third for tokenized commercial paper. Natixis issued and repurchased the commercial paper during the trials, and UBS and Credit Suisse exchanged it between them.

On Corda, notaries determine which transactions are entered in the general ledger. The Swiss National Bank controlled the notary nodes for the Swiss franc, the Banque de France controlled the notary for the digital euro, and SDX controlled the notary for the commercial paper subnet.

To enable a transaction in foreign currencies, the notaries of the digital euro and digital franc network had to accept any agreement. R3 has developed a dual notary signature capacity to enable this.

The need for a wholesale CBDC

SDX went live with its digital asset platform three weeks ago, issuing a token bond for parent company SIX. To harness the efficiency benefits of blockchain-based transactions, it needs to use cash on the general ledger. However, so far the Swiss National Bank has not decided to proceed with a wholesale CBDC. Therefore, currently SDX uses its own stablecoin, albeit backed by funds in a central bank account.

Meanwhile, this is not the only CBDC or m-CBDC multi-currency experience. There is the M-CBDC bridge project between the central banks of Thailand, Hong Kong, China and the United Arab Emirates. And the Dunbar project involves the central banks of Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa and Australia.


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