The ‘central bank of central banks’ is building a CBDC settlement platform

The Bank of International Settlements has outlined plans to embark on a variety of CBDC trials worldwide this year.

CBDC research has been announced as a top priority for the Bank for International Settlements’ Innovation Hub, or BISIH, in 2021.

According to its annual work program, BISIH, plans to “explore the feasibility of faster and cheaper cross-border payments” using central bank digital currencies. BISIH also stated it will explore prototypes of “tiered retail CBDC distribution architectures” and distributed ledgers to issue “tokenized green bonds to retail investors.”

The BIS initiatives will be driven by the Innovation Hub Centres in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Switzerland — which have been established in conjunction with local central banks.

The BISIH center in Singapore has been tasked with building an “international settlement platform” on which regulated banks and payment firms can settle transactions using different CBDCs.

The Hong Kong center will work on the green bond tokenization project, in addition to building a bridge to facilitate foreign exchange transactions using CBDCs, and exploring different models for stablecoin issuance.

BISIH’s Swiss center has already completed two proofs-of-concept linking existing payment systems to trial settling tokenized assets using wholesale CBDC through its “Project Helvetia” initiative.

BISIH head, Benoît Cœuré, said:

“This work programme shows our commitment to exploring in the most practical ways how best to harness technological change for the benefit of central banks and create public goods to support the global financial system.”

In November, BIS recommended “embedded” reporting requirements for prospective stablecoin issuers, advocating for automated data sharing processes between issuers and regulators.

– Samuel Haig

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