Central Bank Digital Currency​

Central Bank Digital Currency #

About #

A joint research project of Crypto@UniBE and ZIV@UniBE on the digitization of money.

Christian Cachin, Mirjam Eggen, Christian Sillaber, François-Xavier Wicht, Gabriel Bizama and Sebastian Schär

Background #

Money and payment systems are undergoing transformative changes as a result of digitization and diminish the importance of traditional cash. This also reduces the usability of central-bank money for private persons who are unable to hold accounts at the central bank. Major events include the growth of FinTech mobile payment solutions, the emergence of decentralized private currencies (e.g., Bitcoin), Facebook/Meta’s failed global stablecoin, and PayPal’s new USD stablecoin project. ​

Building on the aforementioned phenomena, central banks have started to investigate digital currencies, and many are exploring how to issue a central-bank digital currency (CBDC). Both the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the European Central Bank (ECB) have successfully evaluated different technical solutions that are also used for cryptocurrencies. ​

By making CBDCs accessible to households, the existing relationships between central banks, commercial banks, and users will undergo fundamental changes. When designing a CBDC, the needs of all participants must be taken into account. Arising legal challenges can be addressed by technologies such as advanced cryptographic signature schemes, zero-knowledge-proofs, and blockchain protocols.​​

This interdisciplinary research project addresses the topic from two perspectives: law and computer science. Key questions concern the legal and technical requirements for cash-like CBDCs, the fundamental normative principles that should apply, and the algorithmic approaches that are available. In particular, there is a strong tension between privacy and data-protection demands, which exist for traditional cash in certain forms, and the objectives of various societal norms that aim to prevent tax evasion, money laundering, organized crime.

Press #

Publications #

  • Eggen, Tokenisiertes Buchgeld: Programmierbar? Aber sicher! Eine privatrechtliche Auslegeordnung zur Tokenisierung von Buchgeld, AJP 4/2024.

  • Sillaber, Eggen, The Digital Euro: An (almost) perfect equivalent to cash?, (English) Online.

  • Wicht, Wang, Le, Cachin, A Transaction-Level Model for Blockchain Privacy, Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/1902, Dec. 2023. To appear in the proceedings of Financial Cryptography 2023. Online

  • Sillaber, Eggen, Der Digital Euro: Ein (fast) perfektes Bargeldäquivalent?, RDi 2023 (11).

  • Wang, Cirkovic, Le, Knottenbelt, Cachin, Pay Less for Your Privacy: Towards Cost-Effective On-Chain Mixers, Proc. AFT 2023: 16:1-16:25.

  • Eggen, Die rechtliche Ausgestaltung von Retail CBDC, GesKR 2022, S. 147-159

  • Birne, Sillaber, Eggen, Prinzipien zur Übertragung von Retail CBDC, RDi 2022, S. 237-245

  • Eggen, Stablecoins, in: Belser Eva Maria/ Pichonnaz Pascal/Stöckli Hubert (Hrsg.), Le droit sans frontières, Mélanges pour Franz Werro, Bern 2020, 173 ff.

  • Eggen, Stengel, Optionen zur rechtlichen Ausgestaltung von digitalem Zentralbankgeld (Wholesale CBDC), GesKR 2020, S. 200-214

  • Eggen, Sillaber, DLT-Handelssysteme – eine Einordnung in das Zivil- und Aufsichtsrecht, Jusletter vom 11. Mai 2020

Funding #

This project has received funding from the Digitalization Commission of the University of Bern (DigiK).