Swiss National Bank Will Do a Test Run of CBDCs

During the Point Zero Forum banking conference held in Zurich yesterday, the upcoming launch of a Swiss CHF-based CBDC was announced by Thomas Jordan, the chairman of the Swiss Nation Bank (SNB).

Although no exact date has been put forth by the bank, the chairman of the SNB announced that the CBDC would be released sooner rather than later. This seems in line with earlier statements from the BIS – who often work closely with the SNB – who planned to have a working prototype ready by mid-2023 as part of Switzerland’s research into cryptocurrencies, codenamed Project Tourbillon.

Launching On SIX

According to Jordan, the CBDC will be available – for a limited time only – on SIX Digital Exchange. SIX Digital Exchange is a subsidiary of the SIX Group, which also controls the official stock exchange of Switzerland and the 3rd largest stock exchange in Europe.

Although the institution he represents will view the endeavor as a simple test run to ascertain whether a larger scale approach to eCHF is warranted or not, the chairman of the SNB has confirmed that the CBDC will be “real money”, backed by his institution.

“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. We do not exclude that we will never introduce retail [CBDCs] but nevertheless we are a little bit prudent at the moment.”

Cash Will Remain A Fixture

At a separate panel held at the same conference, Andrea Maechler – the governor of the SNB – clarified that even if CBDCs are introduced at a larger scale within Switzerland, cash will not be going anywhere.

“[Cash] is the one way that retail households can hold central bank money. That feature needs to be maintained irrespective of the technology”.

The introduction of a CBDC – even if only as a test run – is indicative of the constant research performed by Swiss authorities on the subject, considering their prior outright refusal to consider blockchain-based reserves.

Known worldwide as a banking sector leader, Switzerland has always ensured that its citizens have easy and equitable access to a share of the country’s vast resources and reserves.

Although Switzerland has always been open to exploring new technical solutions – regarding financial products or otherwise – the financial stability of its citizens has remained a steadfast priority of the small yet powerful nation nestled within the Alps.

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