A project run by interbank messaging company SWIFT to connect central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, offers “clear potential and value,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The project, which included banks such as France's BNP Paribas, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo and the U.K.'s Standard Chartered (STAN), as well as the central banks in France and Singapore, will now move on to a second phase of testing to assess applications like trade finance and securities settlement.
“While interest in CBDCs is growing, so is the risk of fragmentation as a widening range of technologies and standards is being experimented with,” Lewis Sun, global head of domestic and emerging payments at HSBC, said in a statement, adding that the SWIFT project could lead to "faster, cheaper and more secure cross-border payments.”
Countries such as the Bahamas and Nigeria have already issued digital versions of their national currency, while jurisdictions such as the U.K. and European Union are exploring whether to do so. Organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and Bank for International Settlements have called for central banks to cooperate on their work, as regulators seek to cut the time and cost of making cross-border payments.
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