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SWIFT to Launch CBDC Platform in 2025-26: Report

SWIFT, the worldwide messaging network utilized by banks, service providers, clearinghouses, corporate entities, and brokers, is gearing up to introduce a novel platform for interconnecting central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) within the next one to two years, as reported by Reuters, citing Nick Kerigan, the firm’s head of innovation.

Various central banks globally are exploring the development of their own CBDCs, adding a geopolitical dimension to the race to launch digital currencies.

China has been actively developing a digital yuan and has conducted trials over several years. Additionally, countries like the Bahamas, Nigeria, and Jamaica have already implemented CBDCs. Sweden’s Riksbank recently published its conclusive report on the e-Krona, its CBDC, while the European Central Bank is also in the process of developing a digital Euro.

SWIFT’s Trials and Roadmap to Launch New Platform

“We are in the process of formulating a roadmap to officially launch as a product within the next 12-24 months,” Kerigan revealed in an interview with the newswire. “We’re transitioning from the experimental phase to something that is increasingly becoming a tangible reality,” he added.

Kerigan elaborated that SWIFT’s recent platform trial spanned six months and involved a consortium of 38 members including central banks, commercial banks, and settlement platforms. Their collective aim was to test interoperability among various national digital currencies, even if they were built on different technological foundations. This effort aimed to mitigate risks associated with fragmentation in the payment system.

Although the timeline provided by SWIFT may be subject to change due to potential delays in CBDC launches worldwide, the global payments firm is actively progressing with the development of its new platform.

Bank of International Settlements CBDC Plans

In January, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) announced that its CBDC project is entering a new phase in the current year. Dubbed as the ‘Aurum’ project, it focuses on exploring “the privacy of payments in retail CBDCs.” This initiative is among the first six projects scheduled for development in 2024 under the BIS Innovation Hub work programme.

Furthermore, the BIS is actively engaged in Project mBridge, which aims to establish a multi-CBDC common platform for facilitating wholesale cross-border payments. In September, the BIS, along with the central banks of France, Singapore, and Switzerland, announced the successful testing of cross-border settlement for wholesale CBDCs. Additionally, Project Mariana was conducted to test and demonstrate the seamless transfer of CBDCs across different networks.

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