Project Polaris: secure and resilient CBDC systems, offline and online

Throughout the lifetime of Project Polaris we will be publicising ways for you to find out more about and engage with the project. Please keep checking back to find out the latest news and updates.


The BIS Innovation Hub's Nordic Centre is launching Project Polaris to explore secure and resilient central bank digital currency (CBDC) systems, on- and offline.

Trust is paramount for CBDC systems. As with all digital payment systems, the ability to pay must work for everybody, and whenever society needs it. Resilience and security, offline or online, are the keys to achieving trust, providing the future monetary system with a solid foundation.

Over several workstreams, the project will delve deeper into these foundations of trust, and in doing so will provide central banks with the essential information needed to inform decision-making, architecture, design, implementation planning and investments. It will also address long-term change and operational considerations. This is an exciting, complex and necessary area of work.

A key focus of the project is on the provision of offline payments functionality for CBDC, which could address requirements for resilience, crisis robustness, financial inclusion, cash resemblance, accessibility and other desiderata. Central banks considering the potential implementation of CBDCs with offline functionality must take into account issues such as security, privacy, risks, the types of solution, their maturity and applicability, and operational factors, among others. The requirement for and degree to which offline functionality will be provided or utilised will likely vary significantly by country, region, demographics and scenarios, which will also influence which solutions are chosen.

Another key focus area is on the practical aspects of security and resilience, taking a risk-based approach, to build a security and resilience playbook to inform the work of central banks. This would build on existing industry frameworks and apply them to CBDCs, incorporating state-of-the art practices to put together a set of fundamental capabilities and associated processes for a central bank to consider when implementing a secure and resilient CBDC system.