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Bank of France’s Project Mariana: A Deep Dive into CBDCs and DeFi Integration

Project Mariana, an innovative endeavor aimed at leveraging the potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to enhance cross-border payment efficiency and security, has wrapped up, as confirmed by the Bank of France. Moreover, a developer highlights that the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) leveraged the public Ethereum Sepolia testnet and Curve Finance’s smart contracts for this pilot.

Significantly, the heart of Project Mariana was Curve Finance’s code. The BIS, however, desired confidentiality regarding the use of Curve’s framework. Consequently, there has been radio silence from both Curve Finance and Ethereum’s main developers concerning Mariana’s integration of decentralized finance (DeFi) tools.

Looking at Curve Finance’s record in facilitating stablecoin transactions, their prowess is undeniable. Data from DeFiLlama on September 28 pinpoints Curve Finance’s total value locked (TVL) at a staggering $2.1 billion.

Additionally, Curve Finance, known as a decentralized exchange (DEX) specializing in stablecoin trade, leans on an automated market maker (AMM) model for liquidity and optimal price discovery. The same model was mirrored by Project Mariana, a collaboration between the BIS, the Bank of France, and other central banks, aiming for liquidity access and price discovery.

It remains uncertain which Vyper versions coded the pilot’s smart contracts. However, an incident where Curve Finance fell prey to a hack this past July, leading to a $60 million setback, casts shadows on the security. This was due to a vulnerability in older Vyper versions, which was manipulated in a re-entrancy assault.

While the BIS advocates for a foundational CBDC framework, the recent anti-CBDC bill titled “CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act,” tabled by pro-crypto Congressman Tom Emmer in early 2023, underwent scrutiny by the House Financial Services Committee on September 20, 2023. The bill awaits a full House vote.

If passed, this act could halt the Federal Reserve from digitizing the dollar. Supported mainly by Republicans and shunned by Democrats, the bill stems from concerns over potential misuse, with proponents stressing that CBDCs could amplify governmental overreach and compromise individual privacy.


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