The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is making strides in its revolutionary Helvetia Phase III pilot program, transitioning from the experimental stage to the practical application of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). This endeavor, spearheaded by SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan and SIX Digital Exchange, will facilitate the settlement of actual bond transactions using the digital currency on a distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform.
Participating Banks and Transaction Details
From December 2023 to June 2024, six banks, namely Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Basler Kantonalbank, Commerzbank (ETR: CBKG), Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, UBS, and Zürcher Kantonalbank, will handle these bond transactions for issuers and investors. SDX, a regulated DLT-based infrastructure hosting the pilot, will tokenize the bonds and settle them against wholesale CBDC on a delivery-versus-payment basis.
Project Objectives and Infrastructure
This groundbreaking project leverages the insights of Project Helvetia by BIS Innovation Hub, SNB, and SIX. It seeks to settle transactions involving tokenized assets securely and efficiently using real wholesale CBDC on a regulated DLT platform. The SIC and SIX SIS infrastructures will be employed for the tokenization of central bank money and integration with traditional bond settlement infrastructure, respectively.
In addition to bond transactions, the pilot will investigate the trading and settlement of repo transactions with wholesale CBDC initiated on the CO: RE trading platform. These transactions, backed by digital bonds eligible for SNB repo transactions, will be settled on SDX in wCBDC, managed by the Triparty Agent of SIX SIS.
Jos Dijsselhof, CEO of SIX, has praised this pilot as a groundbreaking advancement in the operation of tokenized central bank money.