On September 28, Banque de France issued a report announcing the successful joint test conducted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the central banks of France, Singapore, and Switzerland. This test focused on cross-border trading and settlement involving wholesale central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
Under the leadership of BIS, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Swiss National Bank, and Banque de France collaborated on a project named ‘Project Mariana. By implementing decentralized finance (DeFi) technological concepts on a public blockchain, the project successfully tested the cross-border trade and settlement of hypothetical CBDCs denominated in euro, Singapore dollar, and Swiss franc CBDCs between simulated financial institutions.
The concept functions by employing a standardized token protocol on a public blockchain, utilizing bridges for frictionless CBDC transfers across diverse networks, and leveraging a specialized decentralized exchange for the automatic trading and settlement of spot foreign exchange transactions.
Following the project’s launch, participants who conducted the tests deemed the experiment a success, although they emphasized the need for ‘further research and experimentation.’ The report also acknowledges the experimental nature of Project Mariana, stating:
“Project Mariana is purely experimental and does not indicate that any of the partner central banks intend to issue CBDC or endorse DeFi or a particular technological solution.”
In a speech delivered by BIS General Manager Agustín Carstens a day prior to the public announcement of Project Mariana, he emphasized the importance of clarifying national legal frameworks in countries where central banks do not possess the authority to issue CBDCs.
The BIS remains the principal promoter of cross-border CBDCs, with several pilot tests being run around the globe. The central banks of Hong Kong and Israel released the results of their Project Sela in September, while Hong Kong Monetary Authority CEO Eddie Yue announced the expansion of the Project mBridge, which has already included the central banks of China, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.