SWIFT to launch new CBDC platform in 12-24 months

by | Mar 27, 2024

The global bank messaging network SWIFT is gearing up to launch a new platform within the next one to two years. This platform aims to connect the emerging wave of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to the existing financial system.

This development is poised to be a significant step forward for the nascent CBDC ecosystem, considering SWIFT's pivotal role in global banking. The timing of the launch is expected to coincide with the rollout of the first major CBDCs.

Around 90% of the world's central banks are currently exploring digital versions of their currencies. While they aim to keep pace with developments in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, they are facing challenges associated with technological intricacies.

SWIFT's head of innovation, Nick Kerigan, highlighted the company's recent trial, which lasted six months and involved a 38-member group consisting of central banks, commercial banks, and settlement platforms. This trial stands out as one of the largest global collaborations focused on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and “tokenized” assets to date.

The trial focused on ensuring interoperability among different countries' CBDCs, even if they are built on different underlying technologies or protocols. This initiative aims to mitigate risks associated with payment system fragmentation.

The trial also demonstrated the potential for CBDCs to facilitate complex trade or foreign exchange payments and potentially automate processes to enhance speed and reduce costs. According to Kerigan, the trial results were widely regarded as successful by participants, also affirming that banks could leverage their existing infrastructure for CBDC transactions.

SWIFT's existing network provides a significant advantage to others, as it is operational in over 200 countries and links more than 11,500 banks and financial institutions. These entities rely on SWIFT to facilitate the transfer of trillions of dollars on a daily basis.

Source: Reuters

 

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