France CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

Economic Information

Monetary Base


Cash Issued




Country Information

Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:


Freedom House Index:


Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:


France is in the pilot phase. The Banque de France launched “an ambitious wholesale CBDC experimentation programme in 2020” and has since conducted at least 12 different experiments.

CBDC History and Development

The Banque de France published a report in 2021 that outlined the results and key findings of its wholesale CBDC experiments. Most notably, the report explained that the central bank had conducted 9 experiments to test how a wholesale CBDC could be used to settle securities and complete cross-border transactions within distributed ledger technology-based platforms. According to the report, “The experiments also tested several ways in which central banks could retain control over [money] on DLT, notably by leveraging blockchains’ ability to implement programmability features.”

The Banque de France also launched “Project Jura” in collaboration with the Bank for International Settlements, the Swiss National Bank, Accenture, Credit Suisse, Natixis, R3, SIX Digital Exchange, and UBS. As explained by the central bank, “Project Jura explored the direct transfer of euro and Swiss franc wholesale CBDCs between French and Swiss commercial banks on a single distributed ledger technology platform operated by a third party.” Banque de France deputy governor Sylvie Goulard said, “Jura demonstrates how wholesale CBDC can optimise cross-currency and cross-border settlements, which are a key facet of international transactions.”

In an unnamed 2021 project, the Banque de France collaborated with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to conduct cross-border payments using an experimental CBDC. The project was supported by J.P. Morgan’s Onyx platform. Of the results, the report notes that “The design of a common mCBDC network that enabled MAS and BdF to have visibility on cross-border payments, while retaining independent control over the issuance and distribution of their respective CBDC.”

In 2022, the Banque de France and the Banque centrale du Luxembourg worked together with the European Investment Bank in what is referred to as the “Venus Initiative.” The project involved the European Investment Bank issuing a 100-million-euro bond that was then settled using a “tokenised representation of euro central bank money.” According to the report, the “bond was issued and registered on a permissioned Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and the subscriptions were cash settled using experimental CBDC tokens issued on a distinct permissioned DLT jointly operated by the Banque de France and the Banque centrale du Luxembourg.”

At the end of 2022, the Banque de France joined a group of 14 banks in a program to experiment with CBDC use for interbank settlement in cross-border payments. The program was launched by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT.

Banque de France governor François Villeroy de Galhau said in 2023, “We are currently facing a wave of technological disruption in the form of the blockchain and tokenisation: our ambition as central bank and supervisor is to explore the embedded – and hugely promising – potential of these technologies as early as possible. This is why no less than 93% of central banks are currently exploring the possibilities for CBDC.” The central bank governor argued that a wholesale CBDC is needed to serve as a “monetary anchor” and improve cross-border payments. Banque de France first deputy governor Denis Beau delivered a speech the same day that echoed many of the same points, but he stressed that there needed to be a public-private partnership to create a CBDC.

The Banque de France also published a report in 2023 on its wholesale CBDC experiments. The report noted that “Although the underlying technologies may be different, this need applies to both retail payments – through the issuance of a retail CBDC (rCBDC) – and wholesale payments – through the issuance of a wholesale CBDC (wCBDC). Both would contribute to preserving the singleness of money.” The report also found, “Technological advancements related to [distributed ledger technology] offer various means for central banks to maintain control over their wCBDC.”

Internationally, the Banque de France also participated with the Bank for International Settlements on “Project Mariana” and with Swift’s CBDC sandbox in 2023. Project Mariana was a collaborative effort to investigate how a wholesale CBDC could be used to settle foreign exchange transactions between the Bank for International Settlements, the Banque de France, the Swiss National Bank, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Swift’s CBDC sandbox, on the other hand, involved the Banque de France, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Deutsche Bundesbank. The sandbox was used to test solutions for interlinking CBDCs.

In 2024, Banque de France first deputy governor Denis Beau cautioned that the digitalization of finance and the rise of alternatives (e.g., cryptocurrency) could “potentially reduce security and efficiency,” “affect our sovereignty over the … financial system,” and “challenge the role of central bank money (CeBM) in anchoring the stability of our payment system and financial system.” To combat these issues, first deputy governor Beau said the Banque de France is setting new rules and adapting their services because “Central bank money must remain at the heart of settlements between financial intermediaries, which are the most sensitive from a systemic perspective.” For this reason, the Banque de France continues to explore wholesale CBDC experimentation separately from the work done by the European Central Bank.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties Concerns

According to Freedom House, France ranks highly across nearly all metrics. Furthermore, it must be said that the ability of the French government to abuse a CBDC directly is debatable because the CBDC that would be used in France would be provided by the European Central Bank—representing the European Union. Even then, however, it’s important to recognize that the creation of a CBDC could open the door to risks to financial privacy and financial freedom.

For additional information on concerns regarding violations of human rights and civil liberties, see the following reports by Amnesty International, Financial Tyranny Index, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and the U.S. Department of State. For additional information on concerns regarding the risks of CBDCs, see the following webpage and report by the Cato Institute: The Risks of CBDCs and Central Bank Digital Currency: Assessing the Risks and Dispelling the Myths.