At a conference in Zurich, Thomas Jordan, the head of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), made an announcement regarding a project. Despite the announcement, the bank remains cautious about implementing a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC).
According to a report, the SNB chair, Thomas Jordan, revealed plans to launch a pilot project for a wholesale CBDC (wCBDC). Reuters reported that Jordan stated the project would commence in the near future. The wCBDC will be issued on the Swiss SIX digital exchange and will run for a limited duration. Jordan made this statement at the Point Zero Forum in Zurich on June 26. It is worth noting that the SIX Group operates Switzerland’s largest stock exchange.
According to the report, Jordan emphasized that the pilot project is not merely an experiment, as it involves real money equivalent to bank reserves. The primary objective is to test actual transactions with market participants. SNB governing board member Thomas Moser previously expressed that CBDCs could work well with decentralized finance. In the past, the SNB integrated a wCBDC into the back-office systems of five banks as part of Project Helvetia. This project had already completed a proof of concept for wCBDC.
This position marks a shift from the stance articulated by SNB chief economist Carlos Lenz a year earlier, who stated that blockchain was an unsuitable platform for CBDC, and that the country had no intentions of issuing one. Regarding a retail CBDC, Thomas Jordan expressed a cautious approach, stating, “We are a little bit prudent at the moment,” although he did not rule out its potential introduction.
Another member of the SNB governing board, Andréa Maechler, speaking at a separate event during the Point Zero Forum this year, mentioned that the central bank does not foresee replacing cash in the country. Maechler had previously stated that SNB officials believe the risks outweigh the benefits associated with a retail CBDC.