SWIFT, cross-border payments

SWIFT makes significant progress in CBDC experiments, poised to flip cross-border payments

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has confirmed that its experiments with central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have yielded positive results. The international banking network noted that two experiments conducted in recent months proved that it was possible to move CBDCs on existing financial infrastructure.

The first experiment was a collaboration with Capgemini that recorded CBDC-to-CBDC transactions across multiple blockchain networks while featuring fiat-to-CBDC transactions and instant settlements. Fourteen central and commercial banking institutions are now testing the viability of the experiment with real-world variables, which SWIFT claims that “blockchain networks could be interlinked for cross-border payments through a single gateway.”

A second experiment was carried out in collaboration with financial institutions and other technology partners, which “explored 70 scenarios” to mirror market transfers of tokenized bonds and equities. By the end of the test, SWIFT claimed that it had successfully illustrated that interoperability between several tokenization platforms could be achieved.

“We see inclusivity and interoperability as central pillars of the financial ecosystem, and our innovation is a major step towards unlocking the potential of the digital future,” said Tom Zschach, Chief Innovation Officer at SWIFT.

“For CBDCs, our solution will enable central banks to connect their own networks simply and directly to all the other payments systems in the world through a single gateway, ensuring the instant and smooth flow of cross-border payments,” he added.

SWIFT’s advancements in CBDCs are a watershed moment for the industry because of the network’s wide reach, with over 11,500 financial institutions across 200 countries participating in the cooperative.

CBDC experiments are at breakneck speed

In recent weeks, government and private enterprises have been carrying out CBDC tests frenetically. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) wrapped up the mBridge trial, an experiment made up of the central banks of Hong Kong, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. 

BIS also announced another test pilot involving Israel, Norway, and Sweden, specifically focusing on CBDC usage in retail and remittance payments.

“This first-of-a-kind experiment will dig deeper into the technology, architecture, and design choices and trade-offs, and explore related policy questions. These learnings will be invaluable about implementing CBDCs for cross-border payments,” said Beju Shah, head of the BIS Innovation Hub in the Nordic region. 

Central banks are not left out of the race, as ChinaRussiaIndonesia, and Thailand are at various stages of their CBDC developments after completing several tests over the last year.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention presentation, CBDCs and BSV

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