Digital Euro: A Summary of the ECB’s Investigation Phase and Outlook
Why a digital euro?
A digital euro would be the next step in the evolution of our currency, making the benefits of cash available for digital payments.
A digital euro would offer a public, risk-free, and privacy-friendly means of payment that would complement cash and private solutions.
A digital euro would ensure that people have access to central bank money in an increasingly digitalized society, where cash use is declining.
A digital euro would strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy and resilience in the global payment landscape, supporting competition, innovation, and efficiency.
How a digital euro would work from the user perspective?
A digital euro would be accessible and usable by anyone in the euro area, regardless of their financial or digital skills.
A digital euro would be usable online and offline, for any type of payment, across all euro area countries.
A digital euro would have a high level of privacy, while complying with existing regulations and public policy objectives.
A digital euro would be subject to a holding limit to prevent excessive outflows from commercial bank deposits and ensure financial stability and monetary policy transmission.
How a digital euro would be made available?
A digital euro would require collaboration between the public and private sectors, leveraging their respective advantages and expertise.
PSPs would distribute digital euro and manage customer relationships, providing basic and value-added services to end users.
The Eurosystem would provide PSPs with the necessary support services and infrastructure, ensuring interoperability and harmonization across the euro area.
The Eurosystem would also make available a digital euro app as a uniform point of entry for end users to access digital euro services.
What are the next steps?
The ECB has decided to move to the preparation phase of the digital euro project, without yet taking a decision on its actual issuance.
The preparation phase will last around three years and will lay the foundations for a potential digital euro, including technical, legal, and organisational aspects.
The preparation phase will also involve extensive stakeholder engagement and testing activities to ensure that a digital euro meets user needs and expectations.
A possible decision by the ECB to issue a digital euro will be taken only after the adoption of a dedicated legislative framework by the European co-legislators.
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