Switzerland has taken a new step to outline its roadmap for integrating central banks ‘digital currencies or central banks’ digital currencies into the existing financial system.
The Swiss National Bank (SNB), the country’s central bank, has completed the second phase of the Helvetia project with its partners, and has integrated wholesale CBDCs into existing back office systems and the operation of five banks: Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Mortgage bank Lenzburg and UBS.
The Bank for International Settlements and the Swiss financial infrastructure provider SIX have joined as partners with the Swiss National Bank in the second phase of the Helvetia project, which took place in the last quarter of 2021.
The Helvetia project is designed as a multi-stage study of the transfer of tokenized assets to central bank funds, and aims to prepare central banks for a future where tokenized financial assets based on distributed general ledger technology will become the norm. The project is aimed at resolving operational, legal and political issues related to settlement. The official announcement states that the absence of a DLT-based platform does not mean that there will be no such platforms in the future.
Switzerland was an ideal country to continue the experiment, as it is legally possible to issue a digital central bank currency, which is specifically used to settle interbank transfers and related wholesale transactions, on a privately distributed DLT platform.
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The second phase of the Helvetia project explored interbank transaction settlement, monetary policy and cross-border transactions in the test systems SIX Digital Exchange and SIX Interbank Clearing – Swiss real-time aggregate settlement – and major banking systems, according to the announcement.
“In order to continue to fulfill its mission of providing monetary and financial stability, central banks must be at the forefront of technological change,” said Andrea Michler, a member of the SNB Board. continuation:
«The Helvetia project is a good example of how this can be achieved. This allowed SNB to deepen its understanding of how to extend the security of central bank funds to tokenized asset markets. ”
The first phase of Project Helvetia took place in December 2020 and focused on the wholesale release of CBDC.