- The first Eurozone CBDC is imminent
- Digital Euro necessary to complement fiat
- A regulatory bill to be proposed in 2023
The ECB started looking into the feasibility of a digital coin in October 2021 and has since issued three progress reports. The most recent one suggests that the digital Euro might materialize sooner than anticipated. The new currency will serve as a single means of payment for the entire region.
Fabio Panetta, a member of the ECB’s executive board, said in a speech to the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament that the digital Euro is required to hold up with financial innovations and complement fiat money.
“...central banks already provide a means of payment that is risk-free, widely accessible, and easy to use, and that leaves no one behind. But the rapid digitalization of our economies requires us to complement cash with its evolution in the digital sphere: a digital Euro.”
A prototype design that includes individual restrictions of EUR 3000 is already in development by the European Central Bank. Institutions won’t be constrained in any way. You will be limited to having a single digital euro account that is connected to all of your fiat bank accounts. Legislators will propose a digital Euro program that will require businesses to accept payments in CBDC to give this currency legitimacy. There have been suggestions for the development of instant payment channels, including the usage of QR codes and tapping one’s phone to pay. Only residents of the Eurozone will gain access to the coins’ initial distribution. Those living abroad will still have the ability to use it.
Despite these developments, some citizens are worried that the adoption of a CBDC will deny them financial independence and personal privacy. The first and second progress reports conflicted on whether anonymity would be possible, raising questions about the ECB’s motives for developing the coin. Concerns have also been raised about how new money will be injected into the economy without depreciating the Euro.
In 2020, the Bahamas introduced the “Sand Dollar,” the first CBDC beyond a pilot program. The digital Euro will be the biggest central bank digital currency and the first of its kind if it is implemented successfully. However, there is still a long way to go until this is accomplished. A bill is likely to be introduced in 2023, to clear the path for the region’s CBDC to be issued and adopted. For the time being, improvements are expected to be made while stakeholder engagements continue. We will keep you informed as new developments emerge. Stay in touch.
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