Spain’s Central Bank Chooses Partners for CBDC Project

Cecabank, Abanca and Adhara Blockchain will experiment with central bank digital currency (CBDC), testing different use cases within the pilot of the wholesale CBDC by Spain’s central bank (Banco de España).

Spain's Central Bank Chooses Partners for CBDC Project

On Jan. 3, the central bank of Spain, Banco de España, published a resolution regarding its partnership with Cecabank, Abanca and Adhara Blockchain on a CBDC pilot project.

The given companies were chosen among the 24 applications the central bank has received over a year since the institution published an open call for partners to experiment with central bank digital currency (CBDC) tests.

The pilot phase of the wholesale CBDC will last six months. During this time, the parties will experiment with the simulation of the processing and settlement of interbank payments using CBDC. The transactions will feature both a single tokenised wholesale CBDC and the exchange of several wholesale CBDCs issued by different central banks.

In addition, the use of the wholesale CBDC will be tested for the settlement of a simulated tokenized bond.

Financial institutions in Spain have been considering the potential of a central bank digital currency since late 2022. At that time, a working group consisting of representatives from up to 30 Spanish banks gathered to conduct an in-depth analysis of the technical, operational and business implications of the digital euro and its co-existence with legacy payment instruments.

However, Banco de España’s CBDC program differs from the general eurozone project. It was publicly stated that the Spanish pilot would function independently of the digital euro project, reflecting only the national financial needs.

At the same time, the bank doesn’t reject the possibility of using the pan-European CBDC as well. The institution has recently published a short note explaining the nature and uses of the European Union’s potential digital currency. In particular, Banco de España emphasized the digital euro’s enhanced level of privacy in offline transactions, which is equivalent to cash payments.

So far, the citizens of Spain haven’t shown much enthusiasm about using the digital euro. An October 2023 survey showed that only 20% of respondents would use the pan-European CBDC along with their regular payment methods, while 65% of Spaniards said they would prefer not to use the new payment tool.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.