Central Bank Initiative Unveils Global Bitcoin Monitoring System: The Atlas Project

Central Bank Initiative Unveils Global Bitcoin Monitoring System: The Atlas Project

A global central bank test lab, under the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), has created a bitcoin monitoring system named “Atlas” to track cryptocurrency usage and cross-border flows for regulatory insights and risk assessment.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bank for International Settlements (BIS) introduces a prototype bitcoin monitoring system, named Atlas.
  2. Originating from the Dutch central bank, the system synthesizes both on-chain and selective off-chain data.
  3. Despite data uncertainties, initial analyses reveal significant and regionally varied cross-border crypto flows.
  4. The developed “dashboards” will be available to select central banks for testing and feedback.

Monitoring System

In an effort to demystify the enigmatic pathways of cryptocurrency, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has launched a prototype bitcoin monitoring system designed to elucidate how, when, and where bitcoin is utilized globally. Code-named Atlas, this project sprouted over five years ago within the Dutch central bank and its relevance has been emphasized by the tumultuous episodes experienced across the crypto industry in the last 18 months.

Atlas harnesses data from publicly accessible “on-chain” crypto ledgers and amalgamates it with “off-chain” data, which is occasionally reported by exchanges and users. Though this information furnishes a generalized snapshot of cryptocurrency activity, it must be noted that due to the anonymous setup of crypto wallets without mandating owner location specifics, the obtained data might lack precision.

The BIS stated, “An initial analysis of data collected by the platform indicates that cross-border flows are substantial in economic terms and unevenly distributed across geographical regions.” This acknowledgment is accompanied by a nod to the “uncertainty” within the data.

Why it is made?

The decentralised disposition of cryptocurrencies has ignited regulatory anxieties, especially considering destabilizing events like last year’s collapse of Luna and TerraUSD stablecoins and the FTX platform. To navigate through these concerns, Atlas offers “dashboards” which display various information, such as bitcoin-to-US dollar conversions in particular global regions at specific times. This could yield insights into the adoption and relative significance of crypto markets as they wax and wane in popularity.

Cross-border cryptocurrency flows possess a notable relevance for central banks, pertaining to aspects such as cross-border payments, economic analysis, and balance of payments statistics. In some nations, these may constitute a considerable segment of cross-border transfers, which is currently challenging to quantify due to existing data voids.

“Central banks need to gain first-hand knowledge of crypto and DeFi and the risks and opportunities they present to the financial system,” remarked the BIS. The organization is set to render the dashboards accessible to a select group of “test” central banks to amass feedback and facilitate further development.


The deployment of the Atlas project underscores a vital move towards understanding the complex dynamics of cryptocurrency flows and their broader impact on the global financial ecosystem. The meticulous tracking and analysis of both on-chain and off-chain data serve not merely as a monitoring tool but as a lighthouse, guiding regulatory frameworks and ensuring the safeguarding of various stakeholders in the cryptocurrency domain. While acknowledging the innate challenges of navigating through the semi-anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies, initiatives like Atlas will be pivotal in shaping future regulatory landscapes and minimizing systemic risks. This also exemplifies a gradual but significant shift towards a more transparent and understood cryptocurrency environment amidst the traditional financial structures.