About the Central Bank Digital Currencies Project (CBDCs Project)

Following the inaugural HCCH Conference on Commercial, Digital and Financial Law Across Borders (CODIFI Conference) held online by the Permanent Bureau (PB) from 12 to 16 September 2022, the private international law aspects of CBDCs were identified as an area of interest for further study. Pursuant to a mandate from its Members in 2024 (see below under “Mandate”), the HCCH has convened an Experts’ Group to study the applicable law and jurisdiction issues raised by the cross-border use and transfers of CBDCs.

CBDCs are digital currencies issued by central banks. CBDCs have gained the attention of governments for their potential to be a “new form of money” that promotes various benefits and policy goals including financial inclusion; reduced transaction costs; resilience of payments in emergency situations; and increased competition in the payments sector. The development and cross-border circulation of this new form of currency raises questions regarding the requisite legal frameworks. The nature of CBDCs might pose challenges to applying conventional rules of private international law. Depending on the chosen model of operation, for example in relation to cross-border CBDCs access by non-residents, the role of private sector intermediaries may also become relevant.

  • Exploratory Stage (2023-2024)

In March 2023, the Council on General Affairs and Policy (CGAP) “mandated the PB, in partnership with relevant subject-matter experts and Observers, to study the private international law implications of CBDCs. The PB will report to CGAP at its 2024 meeting on the outcomes of this study, including proposals for next steps. CGAP also mandated the PB to prepare for and organise an online colloquium on this topic, subject to available resources”. (Conclusions & Decisions (C&D) Nos 16 and 17)

On Thursday 5 October 2023, the PB held an online colloquium on selected topics related to the CBDCs Project. The colloquium, titled “CODIFI Edition 2023 – CBDCs”, featured a series of pre-recorded video discussions (see below), led by subject-matter experts of the CBDCs Project and other specialists of academia, government and industry. Live discussion sessions also took place on the same day to summarise the proceedings and provide ideas for the way forward. 

The agenda for the colloquium can be found here.

  • Experts’ Group

In March 2024, CGAP “mandated the establishment of an Experts’ Group to study applicable law and jurisdiction issues raised by the cross-border use and transfers of CBDCs”. (C&D Nos 9 and 10)

The Experts’ Group was established in March 2024. The Kick-Off Meeting of the Experts’ Group will take place on 14 May 2024. The first working meeting of the Experts’ Group will take place from 24-28 June 2024.

Key documents of the CBDCs Project
CBDCs Colloquium Videos

Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General, HCCH

The Private International Law Implications of CBDCs – an Introduction
Gérardine Goh Escolar, Deputy Secretary General, HCC

Choice-of-Law Issues Relating to Security Interests in CBDCs
Edwin Smith, Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Neil B. Cohen, Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School

In conversation with…
Fabrício Bertini Pasquot Polido, Partner, L.O. Baptista, Associate Professor of Private International Law, Comparative Law and New Technologies, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Money, Currency, Legal Tender and The Law Applicable to the Protection of Personal Data, Data Privacy, Transfer of Data
Panos Papapaschalis, Senior Lead Counsel, European Central Bank

Insights from the Digital Euro – a Dialogue
Seraina Grünewald, Professor and Chair for European and Comparative Financial Law, Radboud University Nijmegen

In conversation with…
Heng Wang, Professor, Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University

Panel: The Private International Law Implications of CBDCs – What questions arise?

Gérardine Goh Escolar, Deputy Secretary General, HCCH

Discussant: Emily Lee, Associate Professor, Director, The Asian Institute of International Financial Law Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong

Juliano Alves Pinto, Head of the Division for International Legal Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil
John Ho, Head of Legal and Financial Markets, Standard Chartered Bank
Josué Liévano Paz, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of El Salvador, The Hague
Priskila Penasthika, Assistant Professor, University of Indonesia

Live in Conversation with …
Caroline Kleiner, Professor, Université de Paris

Gérardine Goh Escolar, Deputy Secretary General, HCCH