Bank of Spain Partners with Cecabank, Abanca, and Adhara Blockchain for CBDC Trials

Spain’s central bank, Banco de España, selects collaborators for a six-month pilot program in the exploration of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). Cecabank, Abanca, and Adhara Blockchain emerge from 24 applicants to simulate wholesale CBDC transactions, emphasizing independence from the digital euro initiative. The move signifies a strategic step in Spain’s evolving fintech landscape, despite public skepticism revealed in recent surveys.

Spain’s central bank, Banco de España, has unveiled its chosen collaborators for an upcoming six-month pilot program to explore the realms of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). The partners selected for this significant endeavor are Cecabank, Abanca, and Adhara Blockchain, a choice made after reviewing 24 applications submitted over the past year.

The pilot program aims to simulate the processing and settlement of interbank payments, utilizing a single tokenized wholesale CBDC. This experimentation will also involve the exchange of wholesale CBDCs from various central banks, offering insights into the practicalities and challenges of cross-border transactions.

Cecabank and Abanca, both Spanish entities, form a consortium that will specifically focus on using the wholesale CBDC to settle a simulated tokenized bond. This segment of the experiment delves into the potential applications of CBDCs in securities settlement, exploring atomic settlement and delivery versus payment (DvP) for bond issuance and secondary market trading. Additionally, the wholesale CBDC will be employed for coupon payments and to support cross-border transactions.

Adhara Blockchain, headquartered in the United Kingdom and a technology partner of Fnality, will play a pivotal role in delivering the underlying wholesale CBDC infrastructure. As part of this collaboration, Adhara will provide a ‘digital interbank orchestration platform,’ suggesting the development of a tokenized deposit solution.

The Spanish CBDC program distinctively positions itself apart from the broader digital euro initiative, emphasizing its independence. Despite the announcement of progressive initiatives, a survey in October revealed a noteworthy 65% of Spaniards expressing disinterest in adopting the digital euro as a complement to their existing payment methods.

While the Bank of Spain steers its focus toward CBDC exploration, the global landscape continues to witness active discussions around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Spain’s strategic move exemplifies a proactive approach to the evolving fintech ecosystem, navigating challenges and opportunities in the dynamic world of digital currencies.

Image source: Banco de España