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Swiss National Bank Plans Expansion of Wholesale CBDC Pilot Project

The Swiss National Bank is considering extending its pilot project involving wholesale central bank digital currencies to more banks and transactions.


The Swiss National Bank is considering extending its CBDC pilot project.
Credit: Foretoken Media 2024

ZURICH, Switzerland — The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has announced its intent to expand its ongoing pilot project involving wholesale central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), according to Reuters. The initiative, known as Project Helvetia III, could see increased participation from more financial institutions and a higher volume of transactions.


In June 2024, the SNB confirmed it would continue the wholesale CBDC pilot for an additional two years. Currently, six banks, including major players like UBS and Commerzbank, are involved in the project. So far, the initiative has successfully facilitated six digital bond issuances, amounting to 750 million Swiss francs (approximately USD 830.38 million).


Project Helvetia: A Timeline


The journey of Project Helvetia began in 2023 with a focus on exploring the potential of integrating wholesale CBDCs into the banking ecosystem. Earlier, in January 2022, the SNB, in collaboration with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and SIX, completed a successful trial that tested the settlement of wholesale CBDCs with commercial banks.


This phase included notable banks like Citi, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs, proving the operational feasibility of incorporating CBDCs into existing banking systems using distributed ledger technology (DLT).


Preparing for a Tokenized Future


The primary goal of Project Helvetia is to prepare for a financial landscape increasingly dominated by tokenized assets. The initiative underscores the importance of central bank money settlement within systemically important infrastructures.


By expanding the pilot, the SNB aims to ensure that the Swiss financial system remains at the forefront of digital innovation and is well-prepared for the widespread adoption of tokenized financial assets.


The expansion could significantly impact the adoption of digital currencies and the future of financial transactions globally.

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