BIS Unveils 2024 CBDC Plans, Project ‘Aurum’ Enters New Phase

Sujha Sundararajan
Last updated: | 1 min read
Source: BIS

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has unveiled that its central bank digital currency (CBDC) is entering a new phase this year.

Dubbed ‘Aurum,’ the CBDC project will explore “the privacy of payments in retail CBDCs,” BIS noted. The announcement came Tuesday as a part of BIS’s first six projects for 2024 under its Innovation Hub work programme.

“The goal is to leverage expertise from academia and privacy regulators to advance central banks’ understanding of privacy in the design of CBDC systems,” the plan read.

The projects were announced by Cecilia Skingsley, who heads the BIS Innovation Hub. “As the financial industry adopts new technologies, we need to understand how they affect central banks’ core work. Central banks are actively examining the potential for novel technologies to help deliver on their mandates,” she stressed.

Project Aurum is a joint collaboration between the BIS Innovation Hub Hong Kong Centre, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute.

The project was first announced in October, is a two-tier retail CBDC system. It involves – intermediated CBDC and stablecoins backed by CBDC in the interbank system.

Tokenization is ‘Important’: Skingsley

Furthermore, the financial services giant has planned to work on advanced data analytics and tokenization.

Speaking at a BIS seminar on Monday, Skingsley said that the BIS Innovation Hub is planning more initiatives to test tokenization of financial instruments.

“Tokenization is an important area where we have already launched one project and are planning more initiatives.”

Announced on January 11, Project ‘Promissa’ aims to build a proof-of-concept (PoC) of a platform for digital “tokenized” promissory notes. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will act as an observer to oversee the project developments.

Besides the Aurum CBDC initiative, BIS is also working on Project mBridge, a multi-CBDC common platform for wholesale cross-border payments.

In September, BIS and central banks of France, Singapore, and Switzerland announced a successful testing of cross-border settlement for wholesale-CBDCs. Called Project Mariana, the testing demonstrated frictionless transfer of wCBDCs across different networks.