The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is set to enhance digital currency research and tokenization in 2024 according to a Jan 23 announcement.
The BIS Innovation Hub has outlined an ambitious program for 2024, set to focus on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), cybersecurity, financial crime prevention, and green finance. A key highlight will be the progression to the second phase of Project Aurum, delving into the privacy of retail payments using CBDCs.
The latest move follows the successful development of a wholesale interbank system and a retail CBDC prototype by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in 2022.
Cecilia Skingsley, head of the BIS Innovation Hub, emphasized the significance of tokenization in financial systems. Project Promissa, a collaboration with the Swiss National Bank and the World Bank, aims to digitize traditional financial instruments like promissory notes, which remain largely paper-based. The project intends to streamline their management and enhance transparency using blockchain technology.
In addition to Project Promissa, BIS will continue other key projects such as Project Mandala for automating cross-border payment compliance, Project Pyxtrail for monitoring stablecoin balance sheets, and Project Cambridge for experimenting with multi-CBDC platforms.
The BIS Innovation Hub also plans to launch six new projects. These include Project Leap, aimed at protecting payment systems against quantum computing threats, and Project Symbiosis, which focuses on using artificial intelligence and big data for supply chain emissions disclosures. Additionally, Project NGFS Data Directory 2.0 will enhance the accessibility of climate-related data, and Project Hertha will explore financial crime patterns in payment systems.
Amidst this backdrop, central banks across the Americas, under the BIS’s leadership, have been delineating key technical priorities for CBDC architecture. Last month, the Consultative Group on Innovation and the Digital Economy (CGIDE) provided a comprehensive reference for nations researching or implementing CBDCs. The collaboration aims to draft a CBDC proof of concept that encompasses essential aspects like interoperability, scalability, user-centric design, security, and data privacy.
Another notable development comes from Project Tourbillon, led by the BIS Innovation Hub. The project has shown significant progress in achieving a balance between privacy and transparency in CBDC transactions. The final report from Project Tourbillon suggests a system allowing payments without compromising personal information, showcasing the BIS’s commitment to developing CBDC technology with a strong emphasis on user privacy.