The BIS Innovation Hub has completed its first retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) system. Project Aurum was carried out by the Innovation Hub’s Hong Kong Centre in partnership with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute.
It was dubbed “Aurum”, the Latin word for gold, to reflect the starting point that digital currency issued under the auspices of a central bank must be as robust and trustworthy as gold. The prototype system was successfully completed in July 2022, following the core principles of safety, flexibility and privacy.
Aurum is a full-stack (front-end and back-end) central bank digital currency (CBDC) system comprising a wholesale interbank system and a retail e-wallet system. The aim was to bring to life two very different types of tokens: intermediated CBDC and stablecoins backed by CBDC in the interbank system. The latter is unique in the study of CBDC to date. Privacy, safety and flexibility are core to the system.
The system is accompanied by technical manuals totalling over 250 pages that, together with the source code, are made accessible to all BIS member central banks on BIS Open Tech to help catalyse and inspire the global quest for the most suitable retail CBDC architecture.