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Central Bank Digital Currency

Central Bank Digital Currency is online electronic money issued directly by a central bank.  Electronic payments using banking apps or credit card systems, typically result in multiple movements eventually ending in an entry across a central bank.

Complex systems have to work out which bank the buyer's payment must come from and which bank the seller needs the money paid to.  Clearing systems aggregate and net off payments between banks and then, periodically, settlement transactions are sent to systems known as Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) at the appropriate central bank. 


CBDC makes the whole process of payment simpler by allowing changes to be made on the central bank ledger directly at the time of a transaction. The challenge in this model, and solved by SETL in its CBDC framework, is for each bank to have access to a part of the central bank ledger to provision their clients to use CBDC. Once a client has CBDC, it can be transferred to anyone else who has been provisioned.

How it works

SETL has defined and implemented a framework for the issue and use of CBDC which evolves directly from the existing financial infrastructure. SETL's framework recognises the role of commercial banks and their importance in monetary policy and stability.


Banks extend their 'account' role to encompass CBDC. Central Banks retain control over issuance and monetary policy


The core elements of the distributed infrastructure are regulated and supervised


Payments using CBDC are settled immediately at the time of transaction obviating the need for complex clearing

Speed and Scale

With SETL's system, Settlement can be done at speed and scale. A single SETL instance can process 30,000 transactions a second across 100m different accounts - with the system fully scalable by adding more instances.


Micropayments are cash-like movements of small amounts of money in respect of a minimal interaction of some kind. Whilst there is no strict definition it might be from a fraction of cent to a couple of dollars. An example might be the payment for one time access to a piece of content on the internet.

Regulatory Environment

An author might write an article that attracts 1m readers who are prepared to pay one cent. Existing payment systems could not easily cope with 1m small payments without all participants being part of some silo. SETL's micropayment architecture is designed to work within the existing regulatory environments and be closely integrated with internet interactions.


SETL's solution is built around its cloud component architecture


Micropayments cannot be easily handled by existing payment systems because the cost of processing will be higher than the small payment itself


Traditional payment systems have a minimum cost because they have multiple participants behind the scenes aggregating and netting movements between banks and passing settlement transactions across central bank ledgers


SETL's solution, if deployed as CBDC, can process large volumes of small payment with settlement taking place at the time of payment obviating the need for any complex clearing and netting systems


SETL's approach is able to handle payment splitting on a transaction by transaction basis taking a single micropayment and allocating it across multiple parties allowing content to be easily syndicated

How it works

SETL's solution is built around its cloud component architecture


SETL's micropayment wallet can be added as a widget to any website with a single line of code. Actions on the site can then be be tagged and priced allowing the user to micro-transact with a single click


SETL Core is at the heart of SETL's micropayment architecture. Its ability to handle large volumes across a massive address space makes it ideal for micropayments


SETL's API framework and SETL Connect provide the tools for partners to connect and interact with the SETL Micropayments architecture.


SETL Keystore provides a secure environment for the storage and deployment of key pairs used to cryptographically sign transactions


SETL can offer Central Banks a prototype 'out of the box' which includes cloud based banks, central banks, retailers and users demonstrating the full range of interactions from issuance, to spending and redemption. The prototype will allow Central Banks to both study the impact on their own ecosystem under a range of scenarios and to practically test and design implementation approaches.

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