SIX, BIS and SNB conduct CBDC core banking integration test
Swiss financial services firm SIX, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) have successfully conducted an experiment designed to test how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) will integrate with existing core banking systems.
The experiment, named Project Helvetia after the female national personification of Switzerland, is preparation for a perceived future of tokenised financial assets and distributed ledger-based infrastructures.
It tested the settlement of interbank, monetary policy and cross-border transactions in Swiss francs on the test systems of SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), the Swiss real-time gross settlement system – SIX Interbank Clearing (SIC) – and core banking systems.
The “second phase” of Project Helvetia also included five commercial banks: Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and UBS.
While no existing DLT-based platforms are yet plugged into the banking system, SIX says that may change in the future. Additionally, central banks may soon need to extend their monetary policy to cover tokenised asset markets.
The firm claims Helvetia successfully demonstrates that a CBDC is compatible with the processes of commercial and central banks and that a CBDC issued on a private DLT platform is feasible under Swiss law.
SIX CEO Jos Dijsselhof says Project Helvetia demonstrates the successful end-to-end integration of wholesale CBDC for the safe and secure settlement of digital assets, “while also ensuring a level playing field with other financial market infrastructures”.
BIS Innovation Hub head Benoît Cœuré says the test has highlighted that innovation can preserve the “best elements” of the current financial system, including settlement in central bank money, while also potentially unlocking new benefits.
“As DLT goes mainstream, this will become more relevant than ever,” Cœuré adds.