The Atlas project is a collaboration between the BIS Innovation Hub Eurosystem Centre, De Nederlandsche Bank and the Deutsche Bundesbank.
The Atlas Project is creating a data platform that highlights the macroeconomic relevance of crypto-asset markets and decentralized finance (DeFi). A first proof of concept of the Atlas project was developed focusing on international flows of crypto-assets.
Cryptoassets and DeFi applications are part of an emerging financial ecosystem that is expanding globally. Although they introduce new technologies, these markets often lack transparency and potentially pose risks to financial stability. The collapse of some stablecoins and DeFi platforms has highlighted the difficulty of making such risk assessments today. Although blockchain transactions are theoretically transparent, it is difficult to obtain reliable information on their macrofinancial implications.
The Atlas project provides data tailored to the needs of central banks and financial regulators. It merges data collected from crypto exchanges (off-chain data) with data from public blockchains (on-chain data) collected from nodes. By connecting various sources, Atlas enables data verification, providing users with tools to more accurately assess the economic importance of these markets.
As an initial proof of concept, the Atlas project derives cryptoasset flows across geographic locations. The approach uses transactions attributed to crypto exchanges in the Bitcoin network, as well as the location of those exchanges, as an indicator of cross-border capital flows.
Initial results indicate that, although relatively small compared to total on-chain network traffic, the identified flows between crypto exchanges are large and economically substantial. The allocation of geographical zones to trade (when possible) outlines the structure of cross-border flows. Thus, the Atlas Project provides a starting point for structural analysis across jurisdictions.
By providing better insights into the DeFi and crypto markets, starting with a better understanding of the data and technologies used in the sector, the Atlas project will help policymakers and improve central banks’ analytical and technical capabilities and understanding overall understanding of the underlying technology.