'Not just an experiment': Swiss central bank to carry out CBDC pilot

Quick Take

  • Switzerland’s central bank chair discussed details of the wholesale CBDC pilot.
  • He said the goal is to test real transactions with market participants.

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) plans to pilot a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) on the nation's SIX digital exchange.

"This is not just an experiment, it will be real money equivalent to bank reserves and the objective is to test real transactions with market participants," the central bank's chairman said at a conference in Zurich on Monday.

According to Reuters, chairman Thomas Jordan told the Point Zero Forum the pilot project will start soon and that it will last for a set period. The pilot CBDC will be intended for interbank, wholesale use; a public, retail version will not be included in the present pilot. "We do not exclude that we will never introduce retail CBDCs but nevertheless we are a little bit prudent at the moment," he said.

Central banks worldwide are exploring the creation of digital versions of their currencies in response to the decrease in cash usage, accelerated in some instances by the COVID-19 pandemic. China leads in the development of CBDCs, with countries like Japan, Brazil, and Australia following suit.

However, there is not the same enthusiasm in the U.S. For instance, Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller holds a skeptical view on the need for a CBDC in the United States, believing there's no compelling reason to develop an official digital dollar at present, referring to it as a solution searching for a problem. "The case for adopting one is not yet convincing to me and many others," he said during a November 2022 event in Brisbane, Australia.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.