The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and MIT announced on Dec. 22 that their CBDC research effort, Project Hamilton, is now complete.
That initiative aimed to research the technical feasibility of a central bank digital currency or CBDC. Such an asset would be tied to the value of the U.S. dollar and issued by a central bank — in the case of the U.S., most likely by the Federal Reserve.
Project Hamilton also aimed to develop software capable of processing CBDC transactions. Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative, said:
The OpenCBDC codebase that resulted from this successful collaboration [Project Hamilton] provides a credible and unbiased resource to evaluate design choices and ensure that a potential future CBDC could serve the public’s interest.
Jim Cunha, Executive Vice President of the Boston Fed, added that the project aimed to be agnostic toward any future stablecoin policy developments in the U.S. Instead, the project was meant to take “critical early steps” toward understanding CBDCs.
Project Hamilton has been ongoing since it began in 2020.
In February 2022, the research team announced the project’s first results and released a whitepaper alongside the OpenCBDC software. At the time, OpenCBDC was said to be capable of handling as many as 1.7 million transactions per second.
Today’s announcement suggested that the software now has a slightly higher throughput of 1.84 million transactions per second. Furthermore, researchers have added new features such as programmability and support for auditing since the last announcement. The team intends to publish further information in the future.
Despite its success, Project Hamilton has attracted scrutiny from lawmakers. Earlier this month, members of Congress wrote a letter suggesting that other companies involved in Project Hamilton could gain an unfair advantage in the CBDC space.
As such, Project Hamilton could be overshadowed by more official government projects, such as the Federal Reserve’s ongoing research into a digital dollar.
However, the U.S. ultimately does not have any definitive plans for a CBDC, meaning that Project Hamilton may be given room to grow despite any challenges.