The BIS Innovation Hub (BISIH) is leading practical experiments to show how central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could help deliver faster, cheaper and more transparent cross-border payments. These experiments demonstrate that common systems encompassing multiple CBDCs are operationally feasible and could bring efficiencies. Yet policy, legal, governance and economic questions remain.
A recent paper covers four recent experiments:
In September 2021, the BISIH Hong Kong Centre completed Project Inthanon-LionRock2 (ILR2) together with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (BoT) (BISIH et al (2021b)). ILR2 built on the original Inthanon-LionRock project by HKMA and BoT. The goal of the project was to explore the use of DLT for facilitating real-time cross-border funds transfers using an atomic payment versus payment (PvP) mechanism for foreign exchange (FX) transactions between the two jurisdictions.
The Swiss Centre, together with the Bank of France, the Swiss National Bank and a private sector consortium, including the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), published the findings of Project Jura in December 2021. Project Jura explored the direct transfer of euro and Swiss franc wholesale CBDCs (wCBDCs) between French and Swiss commercial banks on a single DLT platform operated by a third party. Tokenized asset and FX trades were settled using PvP and delivery versus payment (DvP) mechanisms. The Jura experiment was conducted in a near-real setting, using real value transactions and complying with current regulatory requirements.
In March 2022, the Singapore Centre released a report on Project Dunbar, which brought together the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) with the BISIH to test the use of multiple wCBDCs for international settlements.
In February 2021, the People’s Bank of China and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates joined the original members of ILR2 to create a third phase of the project under the umbrella of BISIH Hong Kong Centre, renamed Project mBridge. The work of the previous ILR2 proof of concept (PoC) was extended to explore multi-currency cross-border payment capabilities built on DLT. It envisages the development of a DLT platform through which multiple central banks can issue their own CBDC and distribute it to participants. These participants can in turn conduct peer-to-peer payments and redeem the CBDC for reserves at the issuing central bank.