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ECB Says it Must be Prepared to Issue Digital Euro

In brief

  • The European Central Bank has said Europe should be ready for a digital euro.
  • A report has been published, which forms the basis of a public consultation starting on October 12.
  • A digital euro would not replace cash, but compliment it.

The European Central Bank (ECB) said today that it must be prepared to issue a digital euro, in light of the way that digitisation is spreading to all areas of life.

“The euro belongs to Europeans and we are its guardian. We should be prepared to issue a digital euro, should the need arise,” said Christina Lagarde, president of the ECB.

“The way we pay is no exception. Our practices are changing – in some countries rapidly so,” said Fabio Panetta, member of the Executive Board of the ECB, in a blog post. He added that as the guardians and issuers of currencies, central banks are facing this question of a digital currency.

In face of this question, the ECB and the national central banks of the euro area have also published a report, which offers an assessment of the economic, strategic, technological and social choices that factor in to this issue. The report will form the basis of a public consultation launching on October 12, 2020.

The report concludes that a digital euro should be standing at the ready if and when developments make its issuance necessary. In other words, preparations for a digital euro must already be underway.

Panetta also said that a digital euro would complement cash, not replace it.

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