François Villeroy de Galhau: Wholesale CBDC - as decisive as Retail CBDC, and actively experimenting

Speech by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, at the Conference "Unveiling the potential of wholesale CBDC: what insights and prospects?", Paris, 3 October 2023. 

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
04 October 2023

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to this conference organised by the Banque de France. I would also like to welcome today's distinguished speakers from both the central banking community and the private sector. I am convinced that only broad-ranging and comprehensive cooperation between all of us will make it possible to "unveil the potential of wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC)", which is the theme of today's conference.

We are currently facing a wave of technological disruption in the form of the blockchain and tokenisation: our ambition as central bank and supervisor is to explore the embedded – and hugely promising – potential of these technologies as early as possible. This is why no less than 93% of central banks are currently exploring the possibilities for CBDC.i Wholesale CBDC attracts less attention and passion than its retail equivalent; but it is not less important. Its purpose (the "why" question) is probably even better perceived by market players than that of retail CBDC and I'll hence start with its two very interesting applications, namely the tokenisation of assets and cross-border payments (I). Secondly, I will discuss the "how" question, the technicalities of how this might work. The Banque de France is actively conducting experiments at all levels to develop such a system (II).