Discussing the money of the future at the BME

The topics of the educational lecture held at the BME on 25 March 2024 included the MNB-BME cooperation in the central bank’s monetary research projects and the present and future of money.

In the summer of 2023, the BME launched a lecture series in which educational lectures about different areas of science are delivered by the university’s researchers of the relevant fields of expertise. Hundreds of people attended the BME’s lectures An afternoon on ChatGPT in May 2023 and An afternoon on household energy in December 2023. The educational lecture “The Money of the Future, the Future of Money: An afternoon with experts from the BME and the MNB” held on March 25 was related to the “Digital Workshop” of the BME and the National Bank of Hungary (MNB).

The recording of the programme can be viewed on the BME’s YouTube channel here.

The evening was hosted by András Nemeslaki, a university professor and head of the Department of Management and Business Economics of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the BME, who recalled the history of the research and talent management programme that started with a cooperation agreement between the two institutions in 2019. The presentations of the evening covered the technological and economic issues of financial digitalisation research, with a special focus on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The first speaker was János Levendovszky, a university professor and Vice Rector for Science and Innovation at the BME. In his presentation entitled Financial Digitalisation: research, development and innovation in the cooperation between the BME and the MNB, János Levendovszky pointed out the role the BME plays in the creation and operation of knowledge-based ecosystems. Digitalisation and artificial intelligence are already knocking on the door in many areas of finance: digital money and digital central bank money are the gateway to the financial bloodstream for many without intermediaries. Regarding the role of the BME, he provided an overview of the areas in which the University is involved in research with the MNB for innovative financial services. In addition to blockchains, the Vice Rector also outlined the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in stock trading, how AI can help algorithmic trading and how it can optimise investment portfolios.  He concluded his lecture by pointing out that algorithmic trading is like an arms race, which you can’t win, but if you miss out, you are left behind. Finally, putting his presentation in the context of community science, he noted that community science can help to build the consensus and collaborative behaviour needed to successfully address major social challenges (e.g. sustainability, artificial intelligence and digital finance) through knowledge transfer.


Anikó Szombati, the MNB’s Executive Director for Digitalisation and FinTech Development, began her presentation by outlining the three main trends in the future of financial services and their main characteristics: a more efficient digital banking system, decentralised financial services and the emergence of digital central bank money. The options for introducing digital central bank money are being explored around the world, with China already in an expanding testing phase while the European Central Bank entered the preparatory phase in October 2023. The Hungarian National Bank published its comprehensive volume of studies on CBDC in July 2021. Anikó Szombati briefly outlined the decision steps for the design of CBDC frameworks. During the presentation she presented specific pilot projects launched by the MNB. The MNB’s Student Safe mobile app is the first EU retail CBDC pilot project where users can use real money. She stressed the importance of projects testing different solutions to prepare for the challenges of the future. At the end of her lecture, Anikó Szombati gave a short presentation of the finalists in the Rosalind CBDC Techsprint, the details of which were presented by the following speakers.

The event then continued with presentations by researchers from the BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (BME VIK). In his introduction, Gábor Magyar, honorary university professor of the Department of Telecommunications and Media Informatics of BME VIK, gave a summary of the MNB-BME joint projects. He was followed by Imre Kocsis, Associate Professor and head of the blockchain lab of the Department of Measurement and Information Systems (MIT) of the BME VIK, who presented the implementation of a real-time blockchain-based energy price subsidy and savings incentive demo of the BME-MNB joint project team. An important element of their solution is that the service provider cannot see whether the customer is claiming any state subsidy. At the end of his presentation, Imre Kocsis talked about the ongoing research projects on this topic, which focus on the challenges of the so-called “self-assessment” of subsidy schemes, which can be correctly calculated by customers, while masking sensitive personal data as well as the challenges of real-time sectoral analyses.


The use case called “CBCD on 4 wheels” was presented by László Gönczy, Associate Professor of BME VIK. Their joint team with the MNB have proposed a blockchain-based, real-life auto-leasing solution to automate and thus simplify the leasing process, while also applying environmental considerations through real-time payment of targeted subsidies in central bank digital currencies. The entire vehicle leasing business process can be managed on a blockchain smart contract basis, from vehicle selection, contracting, taking out the necessary insurance, possible loans and even applying for government subsidies (e.g. for an electric car), to auditing the process. Further research will aim to involve more service providers by applying a set of rules to protect data confidentiality, to cover the entire life cycle of the leasing process and to develop an estimate for optimised cash-flow.


Pál Varga, Associate Professor and head of the Department of Telecommunications and Media Informatics (TMIT) at BME VIK introduced the audience to a new topic entitled “Industry 4.0-Block Chains and Smart Contracts”. The development project was aimed to connect the various smart contracts between companies and the CBDC by creating a single interface. At the end of the presentation, which focused on the physical implementation of the innovation, the audience watched a video on how digital money is linked to Industry 4.0 in a rubber duck production line.

The interest and curiosity of the audience lasted until the very end of the event, with the vast majority of questions addressed to the MNB’s Executive Director Anikó Szombati. The many questions covered a wide range of topics from machine learning to machine forgetfulness and the future relationship between commercial banks and the central bank.

The BME is hosting its next science education event in April. The event titled “I will teach my whole people - the AI in education” will focus on the relationship between artificial intelligence and higher education and will be held on 11 April from 3PM in Room IB27 of the BME’s Building I (for registration click here).





Photo: B. Geberle