On 12 October, the ECB launched a public consultation on the issue of a digital euro and, at the same time, started a trial phase, without prejudice to the final decision.
The entity announced today that it will publish a comprehensive review of the consultation in the spring, which will be used by the Governing Council of the ECB to decide whether or not to launch the digital euro project.
So far, the responses obtained in the consultation show that payment privacy is the most requested feature in a possible digital euro (41% of responses), followed by security (17%) and pan-European reach (10%).
“The high number of responses to our consultation shows the strong interest of European citizens and businesses in shaping the vision of a digital euro,” said Fabio Panetta, a member of the ECB’s executive committee, who chairs the digital euro working group.
This group includes experts from the ECB and the 19 national central banks of the eurozone countries.
These experts believe that it would be necessary to issue a digital euro if the demand for electronic payments in the euro area increases to such an extent that a risk-free European digital payment method is required, as well as if the use of cash as a form of payment falls dramatically or a form of global private payment is launched that may create regulatory concerns and risks for financial stability and consumer protection.
A digital euro could also be needed if other central banks issue their digital currency.
A digital euro would be an electronic form of central bank money that all citizens and businesses could use, like banknotes, but in digital form, to make their daily payments quickly, easily and securely.
The ECB reiterates that the digital euro “would be a complement to cash, not a substitute” and that the Eurosystem will continue to issue cash in any case.
“A digital euro would combine the efficiency of a digital payment instrument with the security of central bank money” and the protection of privacy would be one of its “main features to help maintain confidence in payments in the digital age,” according to the ECB.
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