Today the BIS Innovation Hub announced its latest work agenda, with central bank digital currencies (CBDC) dominating. Thirteen of 17 projects active or launched in 2021 and 2022 are for CBDC.
The first projects for the new London and Nordic centers have been unveiled, but there was no mention of a work program for the European centers, which are due to launch in the first half of 2022.
London will focus on two projects related to a retail CBDC, including building an open API system. The Nordic center will develop an offline CBDC solution.
Switzerland has already completed two CBDC projects, Jura and Helvetia. It now plans a new initiative Project Titus, that will use the in-house blockchain testing platform Arena and might explore DeFi applications, privacy, and implementing monetary policy.
In Asia, Hong Kong plans to explore blockchain and tokenization to help with SME financing. This is on top of Project Genesis, the tokenization initiative for green bond financing. Plus, the center will follow through with its mBridge CBDC project that involves four central banks for cross border payments as well as project Aurum the domestic Hong Kong CBDC project.
Singapore has four different central banks involved in the Project Dunbar CBDC experiments for cross border payments which will also continue through 2022.
Meanwhile, the BIS is still to announce a new overall head for the BIS Innovation Hub following the departure of Benôit Cœuré, who now leads the French Competition Authority. It recently announced the new leader for the European Center would be Raphael Auer, formerly a principal economist at the BIS focused on innovation.