Blockchain for Banking News

ECB launches pre-call for wholesale CBDC trial participation

digital euro cbdc currency

The European Central Bank (ECB) has launched a survey targeting potential participants in its wholesale central bank digital currency (wholesale CBDC) trials. Rather than a ‘call’, the survey aims to measure the levels of interest in participation, with a formal call planned this quarter. However, we believe this is the ECB keeping its options open. So potential participants should respond to the survey by the end of October.

Strictly the trials are not just for a digital euro. They are for wholesale financial transactions using distributed ledger technology (DLT). Hence, it includes delivery versus payment (DvP) and, to a lesser extent, payment versus payment (PvP). 

The plan is to test three settlement solutions, including two that link to existing euro payment systems (from the central banks of Germany and Italy) and one wholesale CBDC developed by the Banque de France.

Three groups are eligible to participate:

  • Central securities depositories (CSDs) who operate a settlement platform that uses DLT
  • Operators of platforms that are part of the DLT Pilot Regime
  • MiFID II licensed institutions (or similar) with DLT platforms.

Each applicant will be assessed for suitability.

‘Trials’ will use real money for payments during limited timeframes of up to six months. Additionally, ‘experiments’ will involve mock cash settlement to test system performance and throughput. 

The schedule is not yet settled, but the first wave of trials is planned for Q2 2024, and the second wave in Q3 2024.

There’s a working group, the “New Technologies for Wholesale Settlement Contact Group”, exploring the topic of wholesale DLT payments, with three meetings to date (one – two – three).

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