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December 21, 2023

On the web

January 25, 2023

On the web

Project Icebreaker Uses Retail CBDC for Instant P2P Cross Border Payments

Ledger Insights

There’s been considerable work on the concept of using wholesale (interbank) central bank digital currencies (CBDC) to address the frictions of cross border payments. So far, only one project has taken the alternative route of interlinking multiple retail domestic CBDCs to enable consumers or businesses to make direct person-to-person international payments. To do just that, the Bank of Israel is working with the central banks of Norway and Sweden and the Nordic BIS Innovation Hub on Project Icebreaker, as announced in September last year.

On the wires

Universal Digital Payments Network (UDPN) is Launched to Support Seamless Digital Payments Across Multiple Central Bank Digital Currencies and Regulated Stablecoins

PR Newswire

Launched at Davos during the World Economic Forum week, the Universal Digital Payments Network (UDPN) is a DLT-underpinned messaging backbone focused on providing interoperability between the fast-growing number of different regulated stablecoins and CBDCs, and seamless connectivity between any business IT system and regulated digital currencies. At the Davos launch event, representatives from leading global financial institutions Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, The Bank of East Asia, and Akbank discussed the rapidly evolving world of digital currency, the importance of interoperability, and the need for an infrastructure to support these developments.

January 20, 2023

On the web

Universal Digital Payments Network for Stablecoins, CBDCs Launches at Davos


The Universal Digital Payments Network (UDPN) was launched today at the World Economic Forum to provide interoperability between regulated stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). UDPN is an “advanced digital currency payments project” that “has the potential to drive down the cost of digital payments and accelerate adoption by banks and businesses of all sizes.”

January 18, 2023

On the web

January 17, 2023

On the web

Philippines Central Bank Pushes Through with Wholesale CBDC Plans to Improve Payments


The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has disclosed it will not be exploring the retail version of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) but will focus its efforts on transactions between financial institutions. The central bank confirmed that it remains keen on launching a wholesale CBDC in the future to improve settlement times between banks. BSP has previously announced the start of its wholesale CBDC pilot program dubbed Project CBDCPh, with several leading financial institutions playing a part in the program.

November 10, 2022

On the web

Spanish Banks to Road Test Digital Euro

Finextra Research

“The Spanish banking sector has set up a working group and proof-of-concept to assess the impact of the implementation of a digital euro by the European Central Bank. Up to 30 banks, working in concert with infrastructure providers Bizum, Iberpay and Redsys, intend to roll out the PoC with the aim of undertaking an in-depth analysis of the technical, operational and business implications of the digital euro and its co-existance with existing payment instruments.”

April 14, 2022

On the web

Tencent Commences Test Programme for Digital Yuan Wallet

Finextra Research

“Tencent has rolled out a wallet that enables users to make transactions using China’s central bank backed digital currency. Undergoing A/B testing, the Tencent e-CNY Wallet, enables users to transact using the digital currency through QR codes on WeChat. Users will be able to transfer funds, collect payments, and access credit card functions through the programe.To qualify, consumers need to to activate the wallet function of WeBank, Tencent’s digital banking arm, in the central bank’s e-CNY app, which arrived in Android and Apple app stores in January.”

April 13, 2022

On the web

Central Bank Digital Currencies: a New Tool in the Financial Inclusion Toolkit?


“Central banks are considering how retail central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) may help support financial inclusion. While they are not a magic bullet, central banks see CBDC as a further tool to promote financial inclusion if this goal features prominently in the design from the get-go. In particular, central banks are considering design options around promoting innovation in the two-tiered financial system (eg allowing for novel non-bank payment service providers), offering a robust and low-cost public sector technological basis (with novel interfaces and offline payments), facilitating enrolment and education (via simplified due diligence and electronic know your customer) and fostering interoperability (both domestically and across borders). Together, these features can address a range of existing barriers to financial inclusion.”

April 12, 2022

On the web

Clearing Service DTCC Pushes Ahead With CBDC Prototype ‘Project Lithium’

The Block

“The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) said on Tuesday that it is set to develop a prototype of how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) might work in the US in practice.  The corporation, which provides post-trade market infrastructure for the financial services industry, said in a press release that the model will use distributed ledger technology (DLT) and measure the benefits of a CBDC.”

April 8, 2022

On the web

South Africa Finishes Technical PoC for Wholesale CBDC Settlement System


“South Africa has taken another step closer to implementing its central bank digital currency (CBDC) as the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) concludes a technical proof-of-concept for the project. The project titled Project Khokha 2 (PK2) is the second phase of SARB’s Project Khokha (PK1), launched in 2018. It experimented with distributed ledger technology (DLT) for interbank payments‘ settlement, successfully replicating the banks’ “SAMOS” real-time gross settlement system.”

April 7, 2022

On the web

Sweden’s Central Bank Completes Second Phase of E-krona Testing


“The Swedish central bank’s digital currency project, a proposed CBDC, known as the e-krona has successfully finished its second phase of trials. According to Riksbank, the nation’s central bank, the asset is now technically ready to be integrated into banking networks and facilitate transactions.  During the second phase of the e-krona pilot project — which began in February 2021 — the CBDC was investigated on the matter of its technical ability to function within the country’s existing digital banking infrastructure. Participating banks included Handelsbanken and Tietoevry.”

On the wires

The Race to Digital Money Is on – PwC’s 2022 CBDC Global Index Shows Which Central Banks Are in the Lead

“The future of money is digital. It is estimated that more than 80% of central banks are considering launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or have already done so.1  The 2022 PwC CBDC Global Index analyzes and ranks the leading retail and wholesale CBDC projects. The Index evaluates the current stage of CBDC project development also taking into account central bank opinion and public interest.”

April 5, 2022

On the web

EU Consultation Looks at Issues With a Digital Euro


“If the European Union issued a digital euro, it would need to establish laws in areas such as privacy and anti-money laundering, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, said in a consultation published on Tuesday. The call for ideas , which is seen as the first step toward legislation from Brussels on the topic, is being made even before any formal decision has been taken on whether to issue a digital currency in the first place.”

April 1, 2022

On the web

Bank of Jamaica Rolls Out Its Digital Currency ‘Jam-Dex’

The St Kitts Nevis Observer

“Jamaica’s Central Bank’s decision to pursue its own digital currency is as much an effort to reach out to the relative unbanked segment of the population as it is to continue the Western Caribbean country’s effort to digitise its economy. The Sunday Business Guardian reached out to the Bank of Jamaica’s deputy governor and Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) implementation committee chair Natalie Haynes to discuss the Jam -Dex’s introduction to the Jamaican population. She explained the development of the digital currency served a dual purpose.”

March 31, 2022

On the wires

The Digital Dollar Project Applauds President Biden’s Executive Order on Central Bank Digital Currency; Gains Support of Leading Financial and Nonprofit Partners

The Digital Dollar Project (DDP) , a nonprofit leading the exploration of central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the United States (U.S.), today applauded President Joseph R. Biden’s recent Executive Order directing a whole-of-government effort to understand and evaluate the benefits and risks of a U.S. CBDC for individuals and businesses alike.”

March 30, 2022

On the web

March 28, 2022

On the wires

Bank of England and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Central Bank Digital Currency Collaboration

“In February 2022, the Bank of England and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) agreed to collaborate on a twelve-month research project on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). The Bank will partner with the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) team to explore potential technical challenges, trade-offs, opportunities and risks involved in designing a CBDC system. The collaboration forms part of the Bank’s wider ‘research and exploration’ into CBDC , and will be focused on exploration and experimentation of potential technology approaches.”

March 22, 2022

On the web

Central Banks Develop Prototypes for Cross-border CBDC Interoperability

Finextra Research

“The Bank for International Settlements and the central banks of Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa have developed two prototypes for a shared platform that could enable international settlements using digital currencies issued by multiple central banks. Led by the BIS Innovation Hub’s Singapore Centre, Project Dunbar proved that financial institutions could use CBDCs issued by participating central banks to transact directly with each other on a shared platform. The platform has the potential to reduce reliance on intermediaries and, correspondingly, the costs and time taken to process cross-border transactions.”

March 18, 2022

On the web

Bank of Canada collaborating with MIT on CBDC research


“The Bank of Canada has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to work on a 12-month research project focused on the design of a Central Bank Digital Currency. According to a Wednesday announcement, the bank will work alongside the MIT Media Labs’ Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) team to examine how “advanced technologies could affect the potential design of a CBDC.””

March 16, 2022

On the web

China’s Digital Yuan App Gets Update As Police Deal With First-Ever CBDC ‘Fraud’ Case


“The central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has added new functionality to its pilot digital yuan app – but it appears that some citizens are already trying to commit crimes using the new token, and have attempted to use it to launder money. Per IT Home, the PBoC’s app, which debuted in 11 cities and regions earlier this year , is set for a facelift – its first-ever – in the coming days, with an update that will respond to Apple’s next iOS update.”

March 4, 2022

On the web

March 3, 2022

On the web

Digital Currency Unlikely to Harm Israel’s Banking System, Says Central Bank


“The Bank of Israel moved one step closer to the possible issuance of a digital shekel, saying on Wednesday it was unlikely there would be a significant erosion of the banking system’s business results. Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron in November said the central bank was accelerating its study, research and preparation for the possible issuance of a digital shekel aimed at creating a more efficient payments system.”

March 2, 2022

On the web

February 25, 2022

On the web

February 22, 2022

On the web

Sweden’s Riksbank Exits Phase 2 of CBDC Technical Tests

Finextra Research

“Sweden’s central bank has extended its contract with Accenture as supplier for its CBDC experimental project for a further year following the completion of Phase 2 technical trials. With cash usage dwindling in Sweden, the Riksbank started a project in the spring of 2017 to examine the scope for the creation of a CBDC that could ensure that the general public will still have access to a state-guaranteed means of payment.”

February 15, 2022

On the web

Kenya Is Considering Using a Central Bank Digital Currency


“The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has issued a discussion paper assessing the applicability of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the country and seeking comment from the public on the technology. The move indicates that the country is considering adopting the technology but also raises questions on the effectiveness of having a CBDC in a country with a real-time payment system such as mobile money.”

VTB Bank and PSB Conduct First Test Transfers of Digital Ruble

Finextra Research

“VTB bank and PSB have conducted the first successful testing of operations with digital rubles issued on the test version of the Bank of Russia’s CBDC platform In order to perform the transfer, VTB has developed a prototype mobile app which enables users to register, open a digital wallet, exchange non-cash rubles from their bank account for digital rubles and send digital rubles to other users on the platform. Testing ended with successful transfers of digital rubles between PSB and VTB clients.”

February 10, 2022

On the web

Behind the Scenes of Central Bank Digital Currency


“Central banks are increasingly pondering whether to issue their own digital currencies to the general public, so-called retail central bank digital currency (CBDC). The majority of IMF member countries are actively evaluating CBDCs, with only a few having issued CBDCs or undertaken extensive pilots or tests. This paper shines the spotlight on the handful of countries at the frontier in the hope of identifying and sharing insights, lessons, and open questions for the benefit of the many countries following in their footsteps.”

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