Banque de France releases wCBDC experiment findings

Banque de France releases wCBDC experiment findings

Bank de France has unveiled the outcomes of its wholesale central bank digital currency (wCBDC) trial.

The experimentation comprised twelve diverse tests carried out over the past three years in collaboration with several European central banks, commercial banks, and partners in the fintech space.

It sought to test various models for issuing wCBDC and understand how these digital currencies can impact the different aspects of the financial system.

A wCBDC is a central bank-issued digital banknote specifically meant to settle large-volume transactions between financial institutions.

The experiments led to several key takeaways, addressing both policy and technical aspects of wCBDC implementation.

Bank de France found that issuing a wCBDC alongside a retail CBDC, to be used by retail consumers for small-scale transactions could ensure that the value of government-issued digital money is preserved for retail and wholesale payments.   

They also underscored the significance of developing energy-efficient solutions to address climate-related concerns in the design of wholesale CBDCs.

From a technical perspective, the Banque de France noted that blockchain advancements offer central banks various means to maintain control over their wholesale CBDC systems while advocating for technological neutrality and adopting common standards. Leveraging blockchain technology could enhance trade and post-trade activities’ straight-through processing and contribute to overall financial stability.

The experiments also demonstrated that tokenizing central bank money could significantly enhance cross-border payments and settlement security for a broad range of financial assets, from government bonds to fund shares. 

Another pioneering aspect of the bank’s work was the testing of its Distributed Ledger for Securities Settlement System (DL3S) blockchain.

In another trial conducted in collaboration with the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the bank explored using an automated market maker (AMM) to optimize wCBDC liquidity through a common shared platform. 

These findings hold significant importance as they may provide insights into the potential benefits, challenges, and applications of wholesale CBDCs issued on blockchain platforms. They are also expected to contribute to the ongoing exploration of CBDCs and their role in the evolving financial ecosystem.  

The Banque de France’s approach complements recent conceptual work conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on cross-border payments.

The IMF has been exploring the use of blockchain platforms to facilitate cross-border payments and foreign exchange transactions, while the BIS is conceptualizing a unified ledger for all types of tokenized assets.

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