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Switzerland and France now collaborating on new CBDC trial

The Swiss National Bank and the Bank of France will start the first cross-border CBDC payment experiment in Europe
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The Swiss National Bank and the Bank of France will start the first cross-border CBDC payment experiment in Europe.

The central bank of Switzerland announced on Thursday that the collaboration with the central bank of France will be focused on bank-to-bank transactions. The experiment, called “Project Jura” is the first time two digital central bank currencies (CBDC) will be tested.

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“The Eurosystem is engaging in innovation and adapting its actions to the strong trend towards the digitalisation of payments. The Banque de France is convinced of the potential benefits of wholesale central bank digital currency to provide maximum security and efficiency in financial transactions and opened last year an experimental programme to make progress in this area. In this perspective, we are delighted to be able to conduct an important experiment – called Jura – on cross-border settlement in partnership with the Swiss National Bank and the BIS Innovation Hub.”

Andréa M. Maechler, Member of the Governing Board, Swiss National Bank

Private firms like Credit Suisse, R3, SIX Digital Exchange, UBS, and Natixis are also part of the trial. Project Jura will explore cross-border agreements of two wholesale central bank digital currencies and a French digital financial instrument. 

Jura will run on a distributed ledger technology platform which will allow transactions to be immediate. Before they go through, transactions will have to be digitally signed and approved by both central banks of Switzerland and France.

This is the last phase of “Project Helvetia” launched by the central bank of Switzerland, which investigated tokenized assets with wholesale CBDCs. Anyhow, Jura is just in an experimental phase, and it doesn’t mean a digital currency will be issued.

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“It is essential for central banks to stay on top of technological developments. The Swiss National Bank is already investigating the settlement of tokenised assets with wholesale CBDC as part of Project Helvetia. We are looking forward to expanding this analysis to a cross-border context by participating in this exciting initiative.”

Sylvie Goulard, Deputy Governor of the Banque de France
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