Switzerland CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

Economic Information

Monetary Base

$639,587,516,775

Cash Issued

$88,758,786,259

GDP

$807,706,000,000

Country Information

Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:

9.01/10

Freedom House Index:

9.6/10

Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:

8.44/10

Switzerland is in the pilot phase. The Swiss National Bank announced in June of 2023 that it would launch a wholesale CBDC pilot, according to reporting by Reuters.

CBDC History and Development

In 2021, the Swiss National Bank launched “Project Jura” in collaboration with the Bank for International Settlements, the Banque de France, Accenture, Credit Suisse, Natixis, R3, SIX Digital Exchange, and UBS. As explained by the Banque de France, “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.” Swiss National Bank governor Andréa M. Maechler said, “Project Jura explores how distributed ledger technology can be successfully leveraged to map out how future-proof cross-border settlement between financial institutions could look like.”

In 2023, the Swiss National Bank announced a wholesale CBDC pilot in collaboration with UBS, Zuercher Kantonal Bank, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Basler Kantonalbank, Commerzbank and Hypothekarbank Lenzburg. Referred to as Helvetia Phase III, the project marked the Swiss National Bank “moving its work from test environments into production and … making wholesale CBDC available for the settlement of real bond transactions.” The pilot was scheduled to run from December 2023 to June 2024. Swiss National Bank chair Thomas Jordan said, “With this pilot project, we are now, for the first time, making it possible to securely and efficiently settle transactions with tokenised assets on a regulated and productive DLT platform using real wholesale CBDC.”

Internationally, the Swiss National Bank also participated with the Bank for International Settlements on “Project Mariana” in 2023. The project 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.

In early 2024, the Swiss city of Lugano issued a CHF 100 million ($114 million) bond that could only be settled in Switzerland’s wholesale CBDC as part of the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) Project Helvetia pilot. However, later in April 2024, Swiss National Bank chair Thomas Jordan said he sees no reason to issue a retail CBDC that would be used by the general public. He warned, “Retail CBDC could fundamentally alter the current monetary system and the role of central banks and commercial banks, with far-reaching consequences for the financial system.”

Human Rights and Civil Liberties Concerns

According to Freedom House and other reports, Switzerland ranks highly across nearly all metrics. The country earned a 96 out of 100 in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. 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.

For additional information regarding metrics, the methodology page explains each of the data points and provides their respective sources.