The Bank for International Settlements’ Innovation Hub (BISIH) Swiss Centre, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the financial infrastructure operator SIX say the completion of a joint proof-of-concept experiment that integrates tokenised digital assets and CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) has been successful.
Project Helvetia explored the technological and legal feasibility of transferring digital assets through:
- Issuing a wholesale CBDC onto a distributed digital asset platform; and
- Linking the digital asset platform to the existing wholesale payment system.
The initiative demonstrates the feasibility and legal robustness of both alternatives in a near-live setup.
However, comparing them reveals benefits and challenges. A wholesale CBDC has potential advantages when settling digital assets. Yet it would raise major policy and governance hurdles.
Linking existing systems to new DLT platforms would avoid many of these problems, but would forgo the potential benefits of full integration. Project Helvetia explored a wholesale CBDC, restricted to banks and other financial institutions.