Fireblocks provided custody and tokenization technology for almost half of the pilot use cases at the recently concluded Digital Finance CRC (DFCRC) and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program. 

The PoC saw the secure minting and burning of the new CBDC, called eAUD. In addition, Fireblocks powered policy-based administration of the smart contracts and transfers to end customers.

The Reserve Bank of Australia, in partnership with the DFCRC, has set an important precedent for central banks around the world by exploring innovative use cases for a CBDC in Australia in a deliberate, pragmatic manner. The publication of the RBA’s CBDC pilot report demonstrates its commitment to exploring the potential of emerging technologies in providing access to a central-bank issued version of digital money, giving it a platform to lead innovation in digital assets. Fireblocks is proud to provide our institutional-grade digital asset operations platform and participate in this landmark pilot project which will help to shape the future of payments in Australia.

Varun Paul CBDC and Market Infrastructure Director

How Fireblocks was utilized in the Australian CBDC pilot

The RBA integrated the Fireblocks platform programmatically via the Fireblocks API, allowing the bank to create a secure, policy-based governance and access program to manage the smart contract’s privileged administrative functions. This included the minting and burning of eAUD, accessing administrative methods, sensitive smart contract operations (e.g. internal whitelist or blacklist), and pausing the smart contract.

The pilot CBDC platform used a variety of enterprise key management and transaction integration components and services, including Fireblocks. The platform was developed as a private, permissioned Ethereum (Quorum) network, which is a form of DLT.22. Industry participants were free to use any client technology compatible with Ethereum.

The use cases supported by Fireblocks include:

  • ANZ Bank’s Offline Payments
  • ANZ Bank’s SuperStream Payments
  • ANZ Bank’s Nature-based Asset Trading
  • ANZ Bank’s Pilot CBDC Distribution
  • Canvas’ Tokenized FX Settlement
  • Commonwealth Bank’s Biodiversity Asset Trading
  • Imperium Markets’ Tokenized HQLA Securities Trading 

Imperium Markets’ pilot saw two major banks – Westpac and Commonwealth Bank – successfully issue and invest in certificates of deposit. Read the full Australian CBDC Pilot for Digital Finance Innovation report here.

The issuance process was audited by a Big Four accounting firm. Kaleido, a blockchain and digital asset infrastructure company, hosted the EVM-compatible private blockchain.

About the RBA and Digital Finance CRC

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is Australia’s central bank, deriving its functions and powers from the Reserve Bank Act of 1959.

Over the past few years, the RBA has been exploring whether there is a role for a CBDC in Australia in the context of the RBA’s responsibilities for issuing the currency and overseeing the development of the payments system. 

The Digital Finance CRC (DFCRC) is a research group consisting of stakeholders in fintech, industry, regulation, and other sectors looking to develop opportunities based on the digital transformation of financial markets. It was established as a 10-year, A$180 million research program funded by industry partners, universities and the Australian Government. Fireblocks was invited by the DFCRC to participate in the RBA’s CBDC pilot program.

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