Swiss Cantons Basel-City and Zurich Pioneer the Settlement of Digital Bonds Transactions in SNB’s Swiss-Franc wCBDC on SIX Digital Exchange (SDX)

On 1 December 2023, digital bond issuances by the Cantons of Basel-City and Zurich were successfully settled using real CHF wholesale central bank digital currency (wCBDC) issued by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) on SDX.

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On 1 December 2023, digital bond issuances by the Cantons of Basel-City and Zurich were successfully settled using real CHF wholesale central bank digital currency (wCBDC) issued by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) on SIX Digital Exchange (SDX). It is the first time the SNB has issued real wCBDC in Swiss francs on a financial market infrastructure based on distributed ledger technology (DLT).

This achievement is part of Project Helvetia Phase III, announced by the SNB on 2 November 2023, ushering in pilot wCBDC transactions for financial institutions from 1 December this year until mid-2024. As part of the project, Basler Kantonalbank and Zürcher Kantonalbank, acted as issuer agents of the cantons of Basel-City and Zurich.

The digital bonds of Basel-City (ISIN: CH1265890678; DTI: RD9R6Z6FM) and Zurich (ISIN: CH1306117073; DTI: 7JMK1KK1R) were successfully issued on the production platform of SDX and distributed to the banks involved. These bonds can be held in both Central Securities Depositories of SDX and of SIX (SIX SIS). In addition, as dual-listed bonds, they will be listed and tradeable at SDX (exchange) and SIX Swiss Exchange.

David Newns, Head of SIX Digital Exchange, adds, “A strong collaboration amongst participants of the Swiss financial center led to the successful start of the Helvetia III pilot. As the most ambitious wCBDC project in the history of capital markets, the settlement of the first securities transactions in wCBDC in a developed economy on regulated blockchain based infrastructure in a production environment represents a major milestone for the entire industry on the road of adoption of a tokenized, DLT based financial markets infrastructure.”

About SDX

SIX Digital Exchange AG (SDX) is the first fully regulated financial market infrastructure (FMI) for the issuance, trading, settlement, and custody of digital assets. SDX is licensed by Switzerland’s financial market regulator, FINMA, to operate as a stock exchange (via SDX Trading AG) and central security depository (CSD) on distributed ledger technology (DLT). As part of the SIX Group, SDX is subject to the Group’s high quality and security standards covered under Swiss law.

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Marco Kessler joined SDX in October 2018 and has been a key member of the team since its beginning. Marco brings 14 years of experience in capital markets and digital transformation to SDX.
Björn Flückiger joined SDX as Head Legal in February 2024. Björn brings over a decade of legal expertise in financial market law and fintech regulation, both in the public as well as the private sector. Amongst others, Björn was an integral part in the setup and operationalization of FINMA’s Fintech unit.