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BIS chief floats unified programmable ledger to turbocharge payments innovation

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The BIS and central banks around the world are working on a host of innovations, including CBDCs and tokenisation of different assets, including tokenised deposits. "But," Carstens says in a speech at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, "to fully realise the transformative potential of these new financial technologies, we need some way to bring them all together." This is where the unified ledger comes in, offering the potential to combine the monetary system with other registries of real and financial claims.

Such a ledger would be a public-private partnership with a clear division of roles, and where the central bank is tasked with underpinning the trust in money. "Like smartphone platforms, a unified ledger allows various components to work seamlessly together.

But unlike them, it is enabled by open architecture that promotes financial inclusion and greater competition," says Carstens.

The ledger would allow for the use of smart contracts and composability, meaning that any sequence of transactions in programmable money could be automated and seamlessly integrated.

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