The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is working on a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot alongside the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) and six commercial banks.
The pilot, named Helvetia Phase III, will create a tokenized version of the Swiss franc as a settlement instrument between financial institutions for digital securities transactions on the SDX, the exchange said Thursday.
The six commercial banks are Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Basler Kantonalbank, Commerzbank, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, UBS and Zürcher Kantonalbank. The pilot will run from December 2023 to June 2024.
A wholesale CBDC is used solely as a means of transferring money between financial institutions. It differs from a retail CBDC, which is available to consumers as a digital form of cash. Central banks in the euro area are also formulating plans for a wholesale CBDC, the governor of France’s central bank said last month.
Retail CBDCs have met with concerns and criticism over threats to consumer privacy, which is less of an issue for wholesale CBDCs.