Today Ethereum development house ConsenSys announced it is working with Societe Generale Forge on central bank digital currency (CBDC) tests with the Banque de France. Back in July, the French central bank revealed it was experimenting with a digital euro for interbank settlements and announced eight organizations involved, including Societe Generale Forge.
Most of the organizations have themselves created mini consortia. In the case of Societe General Forge, it earlier revealed it was using public blockchain platform Tezos but said it was working with several blockchain networks.
The French bank previously issued bonds on a public blockchain, which were settled with digital euro issued by the Banque de France. And in April 2019, SocGen Forge assisted the issue of a €100 million ($112m) covered bond on the public Ethereum blockchain.
In terms of the ConsenSys work, it will be exploring the issuance of the currency, instant settlement or delivery versus payment, as well as interoperability with other distributed ledgers. We were curious about the latter, but no decisions have been made re the details of the interoperability tests.
“ConsenSys is committed to advances in the CBDC space and has assisted six central banks around the world on CBDC projects,” said Ken Timsit, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at ConsenSys. A month ago, the firm disclosed it was working with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) on a CBDC project.
While the Banque de France is currently exploring wholesale CBDC, in a speech earlier this month, Governor François Villeroy de Galhau stated that the bank also plans to experiment with a retail digital Euro.
The Governor was referring to the recent release of the European Central Bank’s paper on CBDC and the opening of a consultation. Part of the strategy is that national central banks will perform experiments. The Governor said, “the Banque de France intends to actively contribute, including for retail CDBC”. He also observed that central banks “should not be afraid to ‘learn by doing'”.