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Get expert insights on Drex and its use cases—stay ahead in the tokenized economy.

What is drex?: the complete guide

Drex is Brazil's Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), set to revolutionize Brazil's financial sector. This is the most comprehensive guide globally available, offering financial institutions an in-depth understanding of Drex's purpose, technology, and its use cases. It details the significant implications for banks, including enhanced transaction efficiency, improved security, and innovative financial opportunities. The guide also addresses challenges and provides actionable insights, empowering financial institutions to leverage Drex for a competitive edge in the evolving digital finance landscape.


In an era where digital transformation is reshaping every facet of our lives, the financial sector is not left behind. The global trend toward digital currencies, marked by the exploration and adoption of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), reflects a significant shift in how nations perceive and manage monetary policy, financial services, and financial inclusion. Among these innovations, Brazil's Drex stands out as a forward-thinking initiative. Drex, as Brazil's response to the digital currency movement, embodies the country's ambition to modernize (upgrade) its financial ecosystem, enhance economic efficiency, and broaden financial access across its diverse population. This ultimate guide to Drex aims to unpack the essence of CBDCs and explore the specific characteristics and objectives that distinguish Drex within the international landscape of digital finance.

This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Drex, covering all its dimensions and directly influencing elements.

Regulatory Landscape

The Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) and the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM) have been pivotal in propelling Brazil’s fintech sector, especially in blockchain technology adoption. Their regulatory frameworks have encouraged a wide range of financial institutions to explore and embrace different technologies, such as blockchain, fostering a collaborative ecosystem that includes banks, fintechs, and startups. This synergy drives innovation and the creation of new financial products.

Their forward-thinking regulatory approach has placed Brazil at the forefront of fintech innovation, demonstrating the importance of regulatory support in the successful deployment of initiatives like Pix (instant payment method). This CBDC initiative is a testament to the transformative power of such regulations, with the potential to redefine financial transactions within the Brazilian financial system and set new standards for digital currencies globally. The cooperation started by BCB and CVM's guidelines highlights blockchain's capacity to modernize financial services, offering lessons and insights for the global adoption of similar technologies.

Drex Blockchain of Choice: Hyperledger

The Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) has selected Hyperledger Besu as the blockchain platform for its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project. Hyperledger Besu is an Ethereum client that supports both public and private blockchain operations. It is known for its flexibility in adapting to different use cases, which is a critical factor for its selection by the BCB.

Key Aspects of Hyperledger Besu:

  • Adaptability: Hyperledger Besu's design allows for customization to meet the specific requirements of the BCB's digital currency initiative.
  • Privacy: It provides options for transaction privacy, which is essential for financial operations that require confidentiality.
  • Open Source and Compatibility: Being open source and compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) makes it a versatile choice for permissioned network configurations.
  • Support and Development: The platform benefits from a wide range of technology providers, enhancing the capability for further development and integration within Brazil’s financial infrastructure.

The decision to use Hyperledger Besu aligns with the BCB's objective to explore blockchain technology's potential in creating a secure and efficient digital currency. This choice reflects considerations of privacy, regulatory compliance, and the need for a platform that can be adapted to fit the unique demands of Brazil's financial system. Hyperledger Besu's inclusion in the Hyperledger project, which hosts a variety of blockchain technologies, signifies its role in advancing blockchain applications in financial services.

For more detailed information, the Hyperledger Foundation's website offers insights into Hyperledger Besu and its applications in financial technologies.

Question: What is an EVM?
In the context of Hyperledger Besu, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is the core component that enables Besu to execute Ethereum-based smart contracts and be fully compatible with the Ethereum ecosystem, allowing enterprises to build decentralized applications that can interoperate with the public Ethereum network.
Question: What are smart contracts?
A smart contract is a digital agreement in the form of computer programs/transaction protocol that is automatically executed when certain pre-defined conditions are met without the need for a third-party intermediary. It's like a self-executing digital contract - the terms and rules of the agreement are written directly into lines of computer code. When the predetermined conditions occur, the contract will automatically carry out the agreed-upon actions, such as transferring funds or granting access to an asset. This automation and lack of intermediaries can help streamline various financial transactions and processes, improving efficiency, transparency, and trust between the parties involved.

What is Drex?

Hamsa is proud to be involved in multiple projects and research and development studies regarding the intricacies of Drex and beyond. Due to our exposure, we’ve noticed that Drex encompasses three interrelated components.

  • Drex the CBDC: Drex represents Brazil's Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), a digital form of the Brazilian real. As a digital real, it's designed to complement traditional currency, providing a digital option for transactions and financial services. This digital counterpart aims to modernize the payment systems, enhance financial inclusion, and ensure the stability and efficiency of monetary transactions across the country.
    • wDrex: Wholesale Drex is a specialized form of the Drex CBDC, tailored for high-value transactions and financial operations among banks and other financial institutions. This variant of Drex is intended to simplify and secure interbank transactions, including large-scale transfers and settlements, by leveraging blockchain technology. It aims to enhance the operational efficiency of the financial sector, reduce settlement times, and lower transaction costs, ultimately contributing to a more stable and efficient financial market infrastructure. This is what the majority of the pilot program is about.
    • rDrex: Retail Drex represents the version of Drex designed for the general public's use, facilitating everyday transactions such as purchases, bill payments, and peer-to-peer transfers. rDrex enables individuals and businesses to partake in the digital economy with ease, offering a secure and accessible digital currency option. By providing rDrex, the Central Bank aims to ensure wider financial inclusion, offering an innovative, reliable, and efficient medium of exchange that complements existing monetary forms and payment methods available to the Brazilian populace.
  • Drex the Pilot Project: The Drex pilot project encompasses the broader initiative undertaken by the Banco Central do Brasil to research, develop, and implement the CBDC. This project includes various phases, from conceptualization and design to pilot testing and eventual nationwide rollout. The goal is to create a CBDC that not only enhances transaction efficiency but also addresses broader economic objectives like financial inclusion and the digitization of the economy.
  • Drex the Ecosystem (Platform): The Central Bank of Brazil currently calls this ‘Platform.’ In our experience with our partners and clients, the term ‘Ecosystem’ is a more easily understood and often better-suited term. The Drex ecosystem, or platform, refers to the comprehensive infrastructure, network and broader financial services established to support the issuance, distribution, and use of the Drex. This ecosystem includes technology platforms, payment systems, tokenization digital wallets, and regulatory frameworks that facilitate Drex transactions among the public, financial institutions, and the central bank. The ecosystem is designed to be secure, scalable, and interoperable, allowing for a wide range of transactions and financial services.

Note: The acronym DREX combines the letters D for 'Digital', R for 'Real', and E for 'Electronic', with the letter 'X' symbolizing connection.

Drex the Pilot Project

The Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) provided foundational requirements for the Real Digital pilot during a March 2023 press briefing, focusing on the application of multi-asset Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). With the goal of fostering a comprehensive platform for diverse asset registrations and transactions, ensuring a robust and versatile financial ecosystem. Below are the key elements outlined by the BCB.

Assets Involved:
The main assets that are of priority to the Central Bank as a part of the pilot are the following:

  • Deposits from Bank Reserve accounts, Settlement Accounts, and the Treasury Single Account held at the BCB (wDrex).
  • Demand bank deposits and IP payment accounts (rDrex).
  • Federal Government Bond.*

*Access Criteria: Adherence to the current legal and regulatory framework for Bank Reserves or Settlement Accounts.

Transaction Activities:
When it comes to operational transactions, the Pilot Program are making sure the following types of transactions are being considered and tested across all pilot programs.

  • Issuance, Redemption, and Transfer: Enabling transactions involving the aforementioned assets.
  • Financial Flows: Facilitating the trade of assets with conditional and simultaneous settlement to ensure Delivery versus Payment (DvP) up to the end customer level (atomic settlement).
  • Asset Fractionalization: Maximizing one of the potential benefits of a DLT system by allowing for the fractionalization of assets.

Essential Functionalities:
The pilot will test functionalities across three main layers:

  • Registration: Ensuring accurate and secure record-keeping of assets.
  • Settlement: Facilitating the settlement process to confirm and finalize transactions.
  • Protocols: Evaluating the rules and standards governing transactions, including the assessment of smart contracts necessary for executing proposed transactions.

Note: The pilot stipulates that no overdrafts will be allowed in transactions involving registered assets, prioritizing financial stability and integrity.

Drex the CBDC

Other than understanding the use cases, we often get three major questions, which we believe would be very beneficial for you and your team.

  • Drex (CBDC) vs. Cryptocurrencies
  • Drex (CBDC) vs. Stablecoins
  • Drex (CBDC) vs. PIX

Together, we’ll explore the differences between each of them.

Drex (CBDC) and Cryptocurrencies:

Centralization vs. Decentralization:

  • Drex: As a CBDC, Drex operates under the centralized governance of the Banco Central do Brasil. This centralization ensures a stable, reliable digital currency fully backed by the national government. It's designed to integrate into Brazil's existing financial ecosystem, offering enhanced regulatory compliance and security.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Operate on decentralized networks, such as Ethereum’s blockchain, where no single entity has control. It also introduces challenges, including price volatility and a lack of regulatory oversight. For example, Bitcoin's value can fluctuate widely based on market dynamics, independent of any central policy.

Legal Tender Status:

  • Drex: Drex is currently in the pilot phase. When it launches, it will be recognized as legal tender within Brazil, meaning it must be accepted by businesses for all types of transactions, similar to the Brazilian real. This facilitates its widespread adoption and use across the economy.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Lack of legal tender status in many jurisdictions. Their acceptance as a form of payment is often at the discretion of individual merchants or specific agreements, limiting their use for everyday transactions.

Purpose and Use:

  • Drex: Primarily developed to optimize financial infrastructure across Brazil, significantly enhancing the efficiency and security of the national payment system. This optimization facilitates smoother implementation of monetary policies and reduces operational costs. Additionally, Drex supports financial inclusion by making banking and financial services more accessible to all segments of the population.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Initially created as alternatives to fiat currencies, offering benefits such as enhanced privacy. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were not specifically designed with the direct aim of financial inclusion or policy implementation.

Drex (CBDC) and Stablecoins:

Backing and Stability:

  • Drex: Its value is directly tied to the Brazilian real, offering a stable, reliable medium of exchange that reflects the national currency's value. This stability is crucial for Drex to fulfill its roles in the economy effectively, such as in the settlement of transactions and as a secure store of value.
  • Stablecoins: Although designed for stability by being pegged to assets like fiat currencies or commodities, the assurance of this stability largely depends on the management and policies of the issuing entities. For example, Tether (USDT, and a private institution) maintains its peg to the US dollar through reserves but has faced scrutiny regarding the transparency and sufficiency of these reserves.

Regulation and Oversight:

  • Drex: Subject to comprehensive regulation and oversight by the Banco Central do Brasil. This regulatory framework ensures that Drex adheres to strict standards of security, privacy, and financial integrity, offering users and the economy a high level of protection in the digital world.
  • Stablecoins: The regulatory landscape for stablecoins can be fragmented and varies significantly across jurisdictions. While some stablecoins, such as those issued by major financial institutions, might operate under a stricter regulatory scene, others may navigate a more nebulous regulatory environment.

Integration into Financial Systems:

  • Drex: Designed for seamless integration into Brazil's financial system, Drex facilitates efficient, secure transactions across all sectors of the economy. Its integration is supported by the central bank's infrastructure, ensuring compatibility with existing financial services and compliance frameworks.
  • Stablecoins: While they can be used globally and offer advantages for cross-border transactions and digital payments, stablecoins do not inherently integrate with national financial systems. Their effectiveness as a bridge between traditional finance and the digital economy can vary, often requiring additional platforms or agreements for full functionality within a specific country's financial system. Mainly because there isn’t a fully integrated infrastructure. This is one of the things the Central Bank of Brazil is considering as a part of the Drex ecosystem. Mainly because their use cases are a direct value add to many financial institutions.

Drex (CBDC) vs PIX:

Nature of Transactions:

  • Drex: Drex represents the Brazilian currency in a fully virtual form, allowing for large transactions, such as purchasing a car, property, and even interbank transactions. It also aims to reduce the cost of complex financial operations, such as international money transfers or obtaining loans.
  • PIX: PIX is an instant transaction tool that enables sending money (in Brazilian reais) and making everyday payments, such as buying from a bakery or paying a service provider. It's designed for quick, small-scale transactions.

Technological Basis:

  • Drex: Drex utilizes blockchain technology / distributed ledger, providing complete tracking from issuance to the recipient. It requires a digital wallet, or 'Wallet,' enabling larger value transactions.
  • PIX: PIX is a payment method linked to a key – connected to a phone number, CPF (Brazilian individual taxpayer registry identification), or email. Transactions are carried out in reais and are subject to security limits imposed by the Central Bank and financial institutions.

Purpose and Use:

  • Drex: Aimed at optimizing the financial infrastructure for larger, more complex transactions, Drex enhances efficiency and security in the national payment system. It supports financial inclusion by making banking and financial services more accessible and is integrated into broader financial strategies, such as reducing operational costs and facilitating international transfers.
  • PIX: Primarily developed for instant, everyday transactions, PIX is designed for ease of use and speed in daily financial activities.

Note: See what Caixa is doing regarding Financial Inclusion, mentioned at Hamsa’s Drex & Beyond Event.

Drex the Ecosystem (Platform)

Although the ecosystem is going to be better defined as more financial services find product market fit, as well as when the pilot phase rolls into the implementation phase, we already see a plethora of players and projects that incorporate both Drex, and beyond. Drex is structured to support the wide-ranging needs of the Brazilian Market. It is important that the current ecosystem is not exclusive to institutions involved in the pilot program; it is accessible to the wide array of entities in an open-source ecosystem, enabling individuals and companies to create innovative solutions and services.

As of right now, the majority of the players in the Ecosystem are the following, alongside their possible roles within Drex:

  • Banks and Financial Institutions: These regulated entities form the traditional core of the financial system, providing a range of monetary services.
  • Cryptocurrency Exchanges: Platforms for trading digital assets, which may also offer additional services like asset custody.
  • Tokenization Services: Entities that convert traditional assets into digital tokens, including various forms of securities and commodities.
  • Blockchain Infrastructure Providers: Companies that offer the technological backbone for deploying blockchain applications, covering both software and hardware needs.
  • Custody Services: Dedicated to securing digital assets, these services manage the cryptographic keys essential for accessing and transacting with cryptocurrencies.
  • Asset Management Firms: Professionals managing portfolios that include or exclusively consist of digital assets, navigating the crypto market's opportunities and risks.
  • Educational and Advisory Services: Organizations that provide insights, information, and training on digital finance and blockchain technology.
  • Ancillary Services: A broad category that includes any service leveraging blockchain to innovate within financial and other sectors.
  • Registrars: Entities responsible for maintaining records of digital assets and ensuring their authenticity and compliance within the ecosystem.
  • Payment Networks: Would facilitate the integration of Drex with existing payment systems, ensuring seamless transactions and widespread adoption.

Objectives of Drex

Now, let’s discuss some of the objectives that the Brazilian Central Bank has.

Enhance Operation Efficiency

The Drex pilot aims to integrate seamlessly with Brazil's existing financial ecosystem, including the PIX instant payment system and traditional banking structures. The Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) is conducting detailed testing of Drex's interoperability, focusing on retail payments, cross-border transactions, and interbank settlements. For retail transactions, Drex is designed to function seamlessly like cash, offering enhanced traceability and security. In cross-border transactions, Drex aims to simplify processes, reduce costs, and improve transparency. Additionally, the BCB is assessing Drex's potential to facilitate real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems, which could decrease risk and time involved in interbank transactions, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Promote Financial Inclusion

Drex provides financial institutions with a tool to expand access to financial services for underbanked and unbanked populations. As a digital currency, Drex offers an accessible financial solution for individuals without traditional banking services. By facilitating the use of Drex through mobile devices, financial institutions can reach remote areas and enable more people to participate in the financial system, accessing essential services such as payments, savings, and credit.

Modernize the Financial System

By integrating Drex, financial institutions can align with global trends in digital currency adoption and modernize their financial infrastructure. This initiative is part of a broader effort to enhance the economy with blockchain technology. Drex enables seamless integration with digital financial services, enhancing the overall efficiency and security of transactions. This modernization effort aims to update Brazil's financial system to stay competitive with the latest financial technologies.

Facilitate Digital Transactions

Drex is designed to help financial institutions streamline and secure financial transactions using advanced technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts. This approach enhances the speed and reliability of digital payments both domestically and internationally. Smart contracts can also automate complex transactions, reducing the need for intermediaries and lowering transaction costs, thereby improving operational efficiency.


Context about Drex

Drex started as ‘Real Digital’, as a part of a broader push for financial innovation. Originating from the 2016 strategic Agenda BC# for the Brazilian financial system, the project seeks to update Brazil’s financial and payment systems. 2019, was when the Real Digital came to realization.

Even before the official announcement of the Real Digital Project, the BCB spent several years exploring the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Fast-forward to Q2 of 2024, and the BCB is engaging in pilot projects with various financial institutions to evaluate Real Digital’s (now known as Drex) functionality and potential impact, focusing on technical feasibility, market demand, and practical applications for Drex.

Timeline of Drex

The journey towards Drex, Brazil's innovative Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), began in earnest in 2019 when the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) initiated explorations into the development of a digital real. This exploration aimed to integrate the CBDC into the Brazilian Payment System (SPB), focusing on enhancing both domestic and eventually cross-border transactions, increasing financial inclusion, and fostering new business models in the digital and tokenized economy.

2019: The Initial Exploration

  • Context: The BCB initiated an in-depth exploration into the potential of a digital real within the broader aim of enhancing the Brazilian Payment System (SPB). This early stage focused on understanding the global movement towards digital currencies and how a CBDC could fit into Brazil's unique financial context.
  • Goals: The main objectives were to explore the potential for DREX to streamline domestic and international transactions, broaden financial inclusion by making banking services more accessible, and encourage the development of new, technology-driven business models.

Pilot Project Design (2020-2021)

  • Piloto Real Digital: This phase aimed at assessing the practical benefits and technical feasibility of using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for financial transactions in Brazil. The pilot specifically looked into tokenized assets, including digital versions of bank deposits and a Federal Government Bond, to understand their interaction within a CBDC framework.
  • Technical and Regulatory Assessment: Legal and compliance teams worked alongside technology experts to ensure that the pilot aligned with both national and international regulatory standards. This collaborative effort ensured a solid foundation for DREX's functionality and compliance.

Lift Challenge (2020)

  • Innovation Platform: The BCB leveraged the Lift Challenge as a platform to gather innovative ideas from the tech community that could contribute to the CBDC ecosystem. This challenge encouraged the submission of creative and feasible projects that showcased the potential applications of a digital real.
  • Community Engagement: By involving technology companies in the early stages of DREX development, the BCB fostered a collaborative environment that welcomed external insights into the practical implementation of a CBDC.

Real Digital Working Group Formation (May 2021)

  • Strategic Team: A dedicated working group was formed to specifically focus on the exploration and potential issuance of DREX. This team was tasked with evaluating the technological, financial, and social implications of introducing a digital currency to Brazil.
  • Broad Objectives: The group's mandate included assessing how DREX could seamlessly integrate with existing payment systems like PIX, its impact on monetary policy, and its potential to foster financial innovation and inclusion.

Pilot’s First Phase (2022-2024)

  • Government Bond Issuance Test: A critical part of this phase involved testing the issuance and trading of a tokenized Federal Government Bond, providing a real-world application of DREX in a controlled environment.
  • Operational Integration: This phase crucially evaluated DREX's integration with existing financial infrastructure, ensuring that its implementation would complement and enhance rather than disrupt current systems.

Pilot’s Second Phase (2024-2025)

  • Privacy Solution: The testing phase extended until 2025 to evaluate various privacy solutions available to the Central Bank, including the Microsoft ZKP Nova developed in partnership with Hamsa.

Implementation Strategy

In seasons of innovation, it is important for a financial organization to build a case to adopt a Drex solution. As mentioned, the amount of use cases within an organization is endless and can be overwhelming. The following resources will help guide you through that process, help you define a use case, and also build a business case for your organization.

Check out 'How to Build a Business Case for Drex'.

Challenges and Considerations

As financial institutions embark on deploying Drex-based solutions, they face a host of challenges. The journey from concept to implementation involves extensive strategizing, resource allocation, and in-depth blockchain expertise. At Hamsa, we provide thorough guides and resources to assist teams through this complex transition into digital finance. For further information or queries, our team is always available for consultation. Start by sending us an email at

One of the significant challenges faced by the Central Bank is finding a robust solution for privacy, interoperability, and scalability within the Drex ecosystem. This is called the ‘Blockchain Trillema.’ Overcoming these hurdles is important, as they are pivotal in achieving a fully functional, efficient, and user-centric digital currency system. The blockchain trilemma, a concept highlighting the difficulty in simultaneously optimizing these three critical aspects, poses a particular challenge in the Drex context.

Now, let’s talk more about the Blockchain trilemma.

Understanding the Blockchain Trilemma

The "Blockchain Trilemma," originally coined by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, highlights the difficulty of achieving decentralization, security, and scalability simultaneously within a blockchain network. Public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum often have to compromise on one of these aspects to enhance the other two. For instance, Bitcoin prioritizes decentralization and security, which can impact its scalability, while Ethereum's scalability improvements may come at the cost of some decentralization.

In the context of the Central Bank of Brazil's Drex project, the trilemma is adapted to focus on decentralization, privacy, and programmability. Decentralization is essential for fostering an open and resilient financial ecosystem, allowing various participants to innovate and offer diverse services. Privacy ensures compliance with regulatory frameworks and builds user trust by protecting transaction data. Programmability facilitates the creation of advanced financial services and products through smart contracts, enhancing the system's flexibility and utility.

The Challenge of Trade-offs

Navigating the blockchain trilemma involves making strategic trade-offs to balance the desired outcomes. For the Central Bank of Brazil, balancing decentralization, privacy, and programmability within the Drex project presents significant challenges. Decentralization promotes an inclusive and robust financial system but can complicate privacy efforts by increasing the risk of data exposure. Privacy is crucial for user trust and regulatory compliance but often requires centralizing control over sensitive data, which can conflict with decentralization goals. Programmability enables advanced financial services but requires some level of data transparency, potentially impacting both privacy and decentralization.

To address these challenges, the Central Bank of Brazil is exploring solutions like the Microsoft <> Hamsa ZKP Nova, which have been tested in various financial settings globally. By carefully considering these trade-offs, the Central Bank aims to develop an effective CBDC that meets regulatory requirements, fosters innovation, and builds trust within the digital currency ecosystem-without giving into the tradeoffs.


Decentralization ensures an environment with a distributed architecture where products and services can be offered by various participants in the Drex ecosystem—not just the Central Bank. This structure allows for a more democratic and inclusive financial system, enabling a wide range of stakeholders to contribute to and benefit from the network.

Importance: Decentralization fosters competition and innovation, leading to a wider range of services tailored to diverse user needs both from a wholesale and retail perspective. By distributing control and decision-making across multiple nodes, decentralization reduces the risk of a single point of failure or control, increasing the system's robustness.

Trade-offs: While decentralization promotes inclusivity and resilience, it complicates privacy efforts by increasing the risk of data exposure. More participants in the network mean a higher likelihood of potential breaches, making it challenging to maintain strict privacy controls.


Privacy in the context of Drex involves implementing robust encryption and data protection mechanisms to safeguard transaction information. This means that while transactions are processed and recorded on a distributed ledger, the specifics of those transactions remain confidential, visible only to authorized parties.

Importance: Privacy ensures compliance with regulatory frameworks and builds user trust by protecting transaction data. Confidentiality of user data is crucial for maintaining confidence in the digital currency system and adhering to legal requirements.

Trade-offs: Enhancing privacy often necessitates centralizing control over sensitive data, which can conflict with the goals of decentralization. Implementing robust privacy measures can also complicate the development of programmable features, as smart contracts may require transparent data to function efficiently and securely.


Programmability refers to the capability of the platform to support smart contracts and other programmable elements that automate and execute financial operations. Utilizing technologies like Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility, the platform allows developers to create and deploy new financial solutions efficiently.

Importance: Programmability facilitates the creation of advanced financial services and products through smart contracts and automated processes. This capability allows for innovation and customization, catering to diverse needs of users and institutions.

Trade-offs: Implementing programmability requires some level of data transparency, potentially impacting both privacy and decentralization. Ensuring that programmable features do not compromise user privacy or the decentralized nature of the network is a complex task, requiring careful design and governance.

Privacy Technologies

Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKP)

ZKP are cryptographic methods that enable one party to prove to another party that a statement is true, without revealing any information beyond the validity of the statement itself. In Drex, ZKP can be utilized to confirm transactions without disclosing the identities of the parties involved or the transaction amounts, ensuring privacy while maintaining transparency and compliance with regulatory standards.

  • Privacy Challenges: The challenge lies in implementing ZKP or similar privacy-preserving technologies without compromising the efficiency or scalability of the Drex system. There's a fine balance to be struck between protecting user data and ensuring that the system remains functional and user-friendly.

Interoperability refers to the capability of the Drex platform to work seamlessly with existing financial systems, other CBDCs, and the broader blockchain and fintech ecosystems. It's essential to ensure that Drex can be widely adopted and can facilitate cross-border transactions and integrations with diverse financial technologies.

Cross-Chain Communication

Solutions like blockchain bridges or cross-chain protocols enable the Drex platform to interact with other blockchain networks, allowing assets and information to move freely between different systems. This is crucial for Drex to function not just within Brazil but as part of a global digital currency landscape.

  • Interoperability Challenges: Developing a system that's fully interoperable with a wide range of existing and future technologies while maintaining security, privacy, and regulatory compliance is a significant challenge. It involves constant updates, adherence to international standards, and collaboration with other central banks and financial institutions.

The Central Bank of Brazil has decided to update the Drex Pilot Project guidelines to support the further development of its infrastructure in a subsequent testing phase. The goal is to add new features and conduct more tests to improve the platform.

On May 25, the Central Bank of Brazil announced that they are reviewing a promising solution from Microsoft. ZKP Nova is the new solution proposed to securely and quickly handle on and off-chain data. Hamsa, in partnership with Microsoft, provided the Privacy Module for ZKP Nova. This patent-pending module uses Hamsa's smart contract technology to create private rooms on a blockchain, keeping participants' wallets, balances, and transactions private.


Drex marks a key advancement within Brazil's financial sector, harnessing digital innovation to enrich the national economic infrastructure. As a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), Drex aims to broaden financial inclusion, make transactions more efficient, and foster new financial products and services, setting Brazil at the forefront of financial technology innovation.

Understanding Drex is critical for all players in Brazil's financial ecosystem, from banking professionals to regulators and consumers. The initiative reflects the Central Bank's approach to integrating digital currencies into the existing financial system to deliver widespread benefits across the economy. As Brazil moves forward with Drex's deployment, the insights gained will be valuable for the global adoption and management of CBDCs, influencing the direction of digital finance.

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