BIS and three central banks test cross-border wholesale CBDCs

Thursday 28 September 2023 12:33 CET | News

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the central banks of France, Singapore, and Switzerland have successfully tested cross-border wholesale CBDCs.

The joint venture, known as Project Mariana, tested the cross-border trading and settlement of wholesale central bank digital currencies (wCBDCs). Project Mariana was developed jointly by three BIS Innovation Hub centres (the Swiss, Singapore and Eurosystem Hub Centres), together with the Bank of France, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Swiss National Bank.

As outlined in the official statement, the project encompassed the successful trading and settlement of hypothetical EUR, SGD, and CHF. The collaboration tested DeFi elements, including automated market makers, which are expected to serve as the foundation for a new era of financial market infrastructure.

The BIS, the Bank of France, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Swiss National Bank have successfully tested cross-border wholesale CBDCs.


More details about Project Mariana

Project Mariana reportedly involved a process that relied on three elements: a common technical token standard that was extended by a public blockchain with the aim of facilitating the exchange and interoperability between various currencies, a bridge for the transfer of wCBDCs between currencies, and an Automated Market Maker (AMM). The latter of the three is a specific type of decentralised exchange to automatically trade and settle spot FX transactions.

The AMM used algorithms to pool liquidity and enable automatic spot FX transactions for hypothetical EUR, SGD, and CHF wCBDCs, settling them immediately. These protocols are anticipated to be used by future financial market infrastructures to facilitate cross-border trading and settlement between financial institutions.

Further research and experimentation are required due to the underdeveloped state of tokenization and DeFi technologies, despite the progress this project brings. The BIS Innovation Hub and its global partners will reportedly leverage relevant use cases to continue exploring their benefits and challenges.

An important aspect of Project Mariana, the Innovation Hub’s first cross-centre project, is the fact that it is purely experimental and, thus, does not imply that any of the partner central banks intend to issue wCBDC, endorse DeFi, or a particular technological solution. 

Officials from the BIS Innovation Hub emphasised that Project Mariana pioneers the use of novel technology for interbank foreign exchange markets and that it demonstrated the feasibility of exchanging wholesale CBDC across borders while making use of new concepts like automated market makers. 

Similar viewpoints were expressed by officials from the institutions that took part in this collaboration. Alongside the news of this partnership, the Bank for International Settlements released a final report that includes further details regarding the project, including chapters on use cases and testing, as well as on operational and policy considerations.

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Keywords: partnership, CBDC, cross-border payments, banks, financial institutions, FX , wholesale banking, blockchain, payments infrastructure, tokenization, digital currency
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Bank for International Settlements, Bank of France, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Swiss National Bank
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce

Bank for International Settlements


Bank of France


Monetary Authority of Singapore


Swiss National Bank

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