Wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (wCBDC) Pilot on SIX Digital Exchange to Continue Over Next Two Years

The wCBDC pilot on SIX Digital Exchange will continue over the next two years.

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced the continuation of the Helvetia Pilot focusing on tokenized securities settlement on SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) in Swiss franc digital central bank money for financial market participants (known as wholesale central bank digital currency – wCBDC).

This comes after successfully demonstrating “the efficient and safe settlement of tokenized assets in wCBDC during Project Helvetia III, which will run until the end of June this year.”

The next stage of the pilot aims “at expanding the scope with the intention to gradually include additional financial institutions and to serve a broader range of financial market transactions.”

The continuation of the Helvetia Pilot marks “a significant milestone, paving the way for wider adoption of the tokenized ecosystem.”‘

It allows financial market participants to “continue settling tokenized securities transaction on SDX in central bank money and to explore the added value of tokenization and integrated settlement.”

Jos Dijsselhof, CEO, SIX said:

“This represents a major step forward in the financial industry’s digital transformation. Pioneering the use of wholesale central bank digital currency goes beyond enhancing the efficiency and security of financial transactions, it is the groundwork for the future of finance. This project underscores our commitment to innovation and cements Switzerland’s position at the forefront of digital asset adoption in capital markets.”

David Newns, Head of SIX Digital Exchange, added:

“Robust and scalable financial market infrastructure requires that wholesale transactions be settled in central bank money, the safest form of money. To fully utilize blockchain’s potential, both the tokenized investment and the settlement asset must be on the same chain. Project Helvetia III demonstrated that SDX can meet these requirements. The participation of leading financial institutions and the issuance of six digital bonds to date, totalling more than CHF 750 million, settled in wCBDC, highlights market confidence in our digital asset infrastructure. SDX continues to advance digital financial markets, with the continued Helvetia Pilot allowing more participants to adopt digital assets with on-chain wCBDC settlement.”

Following SNB’s decision to extend Project Helvetia III, CI received comments on the updte from Vincent Gusdorf, SVP of Digital Economy and Head of AI Analytics at Moody’s Ratings.

Vincent stated:

“The SNB’s decision to extend Project Helvetia III for another two years is a positive development for the Swiss digital finance ecosystem. The lack of digital cash compatible with distributed ledger technology is often a significant obstacle to advancing this technology.”

Vincent added:

“Project Helvetia III addresses this by enabling the settlement of financial transactions with wholesale CBDC on SDX’s platform. Although other central banks, such as the European Central Bank and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, have begun exploring wholesale central bank digital currency, Switzerland is the most advanced in this area. Bonds settled with wholesale CBDC on the SDX platform have the same risk profile as traditional bonds, thanks to its comprehensive business continuity plan and the stringent regulations imposed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.”

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