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Basel positions itself as international fintech hub

10 October 2019

The Swiss National Bank is working on a fintech project with the SIX stock exchange to explore technological options to make digital central bank money available. The study is being conducted at the new Swiss BIS Innovation Hub Center in Basel.

Headquarter of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel (img: BIS)

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is working with SIX on a proof of concept study, announced a statement. The aim is to research how digital central bank money could be used in the settlement of tokenized assets between market participants. As the SNB explains, tokens are “digital assets that can be transferred from one party to another”.

The foundation for the new study is the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), based on the so-called Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Crypto currencies such as bitcoin are based on DLT. The study is being conducted at the new Swiss BIS Innovation Hub Center in Basel, which was founded by the SNB and the Basel-headquartered Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

Following the announcement of the new center in the summer, the agreement was signed on Tuesday. According to the SNB, the Innovation Hub will serve as a center for a network of innovation experts, elevating Basel to the status of an internationally important fintech center. There are also Innovation Hubs in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Alongside the proof of concept study, a second fintech project is being conducted at the Basel BIS Innovation Hub Center. It will address the requirements placed on central banks “to monitor fast-paced electronic markets”.

“The SNB has for some time been closely following the digitalisation of the financial sector and technological innovations in the areas covered by its mandate. Through the cooperation at the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Switzerland, the SNB will be able to further expand its expertise in the area of financial markets and their infrastructures. We look forward to bolstering our collaboration with the BIS and other central banks in this space,” commented SNB President Thomas Jordan.

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