BIS calls for ‘unified ledger’ for CBDCs

The Bank for International Settlements today released a special chapter of its upcoming Annual Economic Report 2023 that lays out a “blueprint” for a future monetary system underpinned by central bank digital currency. Among other things, the report calls for a new financial infrastructure—a unified ledger—to capture “the full benefits of tokenization” by combining central bank money, tokenized deposits and tokenized assets on a programmable platform.

Tokenization of money and assets has great potential, but initiatives to date have taken place in silos without access to central bank money, the BIS report states. A unified ledger would help break down those silos through two key features. “The first is that it combines all the components needed to complete a transaction on one platform—i.e. it has everything in one place,” it states. “The second is that it features money and assets as executable objects, which means they could be transferred safely and securely without going through external authentication and verification processes and without relying on external messaging systems.”

A unified ledger “does not mean ‘one ledger to rule them all’—a sole ledger that overshadows all other systems in the economy,” according to the report. “Depending on the needs of each jurisdiction, multiple ledgers, each with a specific use case, could coexist.”