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The Banque de France Lab’s achievements

Since its creation in June 2017, the Banque de France’s Innovation Lab has carried out some 30 experiments in different fields. Here are just a few of its achievements.

  • MADRE: the first ever blockchain put into production by a central bank


To collect SEPA direct debits from payers, creditors have to be given a unique identifier by their bank.

Up until the end of 2017, the Banque de France was responsible for collecting and managing bank requests for SEPA creditor identifiers, and for verifying all documents sent to direct debit originators. The process was thus completely centralised and proved relatively time-consuming and costly.

To simplify the system, the Banque de France decided to implement its own blockchain technology (a distributed, decentralised digital system for storing and exchanging data), following a test phase carried out by the Lab.


The new blockchain, dubbed MADRE for Mise à Disposition des Référentiels (provision of identifiers), was put into production in December 2017.

It transmits SEPA identifiers to banks securely and in just a few seconds, compared with a previous timeframe of up to two weeks. Commercial banks can also consult the list of identifiers in real time.

MADRE, the world’s first interbank blockchain implemented by a central bank, was awarded the 2018 Innovation Prize by Revue Banque.

  • Trading Forex Digital for the trading floor


The Lab was asked to provide the trading floor with an application guaranteeing optimal, best price execution for buy/sell orders in all foreign exchange markets where the Banque de France operates. The project needed to be delivered within a very short deadline.

Tests were carried out rapidly and with the participation of all stakeholders.


Thanks to Trading Forex, the trading floor can now offer best price order execution to all Banque de France customers (banks and large corporations), allowing it to attract a greater volume of transactions and generate higher margins. The chosen solution has quickly proved its worth, with profits already outstripping the cost of the original investment.

  • Implementation of a “kit” for regional VSE (very small enterprise) correspondents

In 2016, the Banque de France set up a network of VSE correspondents. A year later, in response to rising demand from managers of VSEs, the Lab was asked to come up with ideas for helping correspondents in their day-to-day tasks.

The Banque de France’s regional VSE correspondents were invited to take part in a digital challenge. Three teams were then selected to take part in a 4-day bootcamp at the Lab, where they worked with designers and developers to produce a prototype of their projects.

The winning idea was submitted by two regional branch staff, and consists of a dedicated VSE correspondent platform for skill development and knowledge sharing.

  • Impact of the new economy on Banque de France business surveys


In 2017, the Banque de France’s business survey teams asked the Lab to conduct an experiment on the collection of data on the French tourist and business accommodation sector. The aim was to assess the impact of new players in the industry.

The Lab selected a start-up specialising in the analysis of different sources of data. New indicators were taken into account to measure and predict activity in the accommodation sector, and data were gathered from websites such as,, TripAdvisor and Airbnb.


The experiment resulted in better quality data and a reduction in survey administration costs. The methodology can also be extended to other sectors of activity.

It should be put to use in the Banque de France business surveys in the near future.

  • Creation of a financial analysis game – #AventureEntrepreneurs


The Companies Directorate asked the Lab to find a way of giving a broad audience, and especially VSE managers, the basic skills they need to conduct a financial analysis.

The aim was to find an engaging way to teach VSE founders and managers the principles of accounting and how to evaluate a business.

Together, the Lab and Companies Directorate came up with the idea of a board game. The final product, called #AventureEntrepreneurs, took just three months to develop, and was tested on a range of audiences over 2017 (around 1,000 people), including members of the employers’ association MEDEF, VSE correspondents, students and teachers.


The tests proved conclusive and the game was finalised by a specialist “gamification” company. It was officially launched at the annual VSE correspondents’ convention on 9 October 2018, and can be purchased online via the Banque de France website or at the Fnac.

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Updated on: 05/24/2019 11:01