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Swiss central bank sees no need for public CBDC as risks outweigh benefits

swiss-central-bank-sees-no-need-for-public-cbdc-as-risks-outweign-benefits
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Swiss central bank sees no need for public CBDC as risks outweigh benefits

Swiss National Bank Chair Thomas Jordan says public central bank digital currency is unnecessary, suggests focusing on interbank trials.

Switzerland is unlikely to introduce a public central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the near future, as risks associated with the technology still outweigh potential benefits, Reuters reports, citing Thomas Jordan, the head of the Swiss National Bank (SNB).

Speaking at an event in Zurich, Jordan noted there are many efficient and innovative payment solutions already available to consumers and businesses through the private sector, adding that a retail CBDC could significantly reshape the existing monetary framework.

“Retail CBDC could fundamentally alter the current monetary system and the role of central banks and commercial banks, with far-reaching consequences for the financial system.”

Thomas Jordan

So far, the SNB has done multiple trials leveraging wholesale CBDC, facilitating transactions using central bank funds between commercial banks like UBS and Zuercher Kantonal Bank to expedite and reduce the cost of payments.

However, there are still questions that need to be resolved, as the technology is still in its early stages. Jordan emphasized the need to address issues such as the feasibility of overnight holding of Swiss franc digital central bank funds, methods of remuneration, and determining eligible financial institutions.

The SNB’s cautious stance aligns with similar sentiments expressed by other financial regulators. In mid-March, Sweden’s central bank, Riksbank, issued a research note cautioning about the potential risks associated with CBDCs, particularly concerning unsynchronized data in offline transactions.

The Riksbank stressed the importance of synchronizing offline transactions with online balances, addressing concerns regarding liquidity risks stemming from shadow wallets and intermediary nodes facilitating connections between offline and online wallets.