The Banque de France has chosen eight potential candidates to test the integration of a CDB for interbank agreements, according to the announcement published today.
The list of approved participants includes giants such as Accenture, HSBC and Societe Generale, as well as smaller crypto-focused players such as Seba Bank and LiquidShare.
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The announcement follows the central bank’s call for applications to experiment with the use of a digital Euro, which it published in March. At that time, the institution said it would select up to 10 applications related to the CBDC, with „innovative nature“ being one of the main selection criteria.
The French central bank will now start working with each of the eight players on their proposed experiments „in the coming months“, with the aim of exploring „new methods of exchanging financial instruments“. In addition, the pilot projects will try to establish how CDBs can be distributed and used for cross-border payments.
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It should be noted that the Banque de France appears to be investigating wholesale rather than retail uses for a digital euro, which means that the CBDC should be designed for „interbank regulation“, not consumer purposes.
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France has been at the forefront of European CBDC experiments so far. In May, it became the first country to successfully test a digital Euro in a block chain as part of its ongoing project with Societe Generale.
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Although it is not clear whether France’s experiments with CBDC will ever be adopted at EU level, its central bank has recently been chosen to represent the Eurosystem together with the Deutsche Bundesbank as part of the Bank for International Settlements‘ global network „BIS Innovation Centre“.