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Banque de France to explore wholesale central bank digital currency

Banque de France Governor François Villeroy de Galhau said the French central bank is keen to take part in experiments to integrate a so-called wholesale central bank digital currency, or CBDC, into innovative procedures for exchanging and settling tokenized financial assets.

He said the bank will reorganize its Payments and Market Infrastructures Oversight Directorate into the Infrastructure, Innovation and Payments Directorate, and extend its scope to cover all payment innovations, infrastructures and central bank digital currency.

It plans to start running experiments rapidly and launch a call for projects before the end of the first quarter of 2020, De Galhau said. A so-called wholesale CBDC is one of the forms of digital currency banks could use to make transactions in the future, he said.

The bank's work will contribute to the Eurosystem, which should examine the possible development of an "e-euro," he said, adding that the possible creation of a CBDC is a major challenge for the future of the international monetary and financial system.

The development comes as a number of countries including the Swiss and Swedish central banks explore the uses of CBDC.