Banque de France has picked eight potential candidates to test the integration of a CBDC for interbank settlements, according to the announcement published earlier today.
The list of approved participants includes mainstream juggernauts like Accenture, HSBC, and Societe Generale, as well as smaller crypto-focused players like Seba Bank and LiquidShare.
The announcement follows the central bank’s call for applications to experiment with the use of a digital euro, which it posted in March. At the time, the institution said it would select a maximum of 10 CBDC-related applications, with “innovative nature” being one of the main selection criteria.
Now, the French central bank will start working with each of the eight players on their proposed experiments “over the coming months”, aiming to explore “new methods of exchanging financial instruments”. Additionally, the pilot projects will try to establish how CBDCs can be distributed and used for cross-border payments.
Notedly, Banque de France seems to be researching wholesale rather than retail uses for a digital euro, meaning that the CBDC be designed for “interbank regulations”, not consumer purposes.
France has been at the forefront of European CBDC experiments so far. In May, it became the first country to successfully trial a digital euro on a blockchain as part of its ongoing project with Societe Generale.
Although it is not clear if France’s experiments with CBDC will ever be adopted on the EU scale, its central bank has recently been chosen to represent the Eurosystem along with the Deutsche Bundesbank as part of the Bank for International Settlements’ global “BIS Innovation Hub” network.