Alternative to cryptocurrencies
Digital Euro from ECB as an alternative to cryptocurrencies. ECB for the moment, as guardian of the euro, provides currency in two forms: we issue banknotes and we transfer electronic deposits to banks and other financial institutions.
Digitalisation has spread to every corner of our lives and transformed how we pay. In this new era, a digital euro would guarantee that citizens in the euro area can maintain free access to a simple, universally accepted, safe and trusted means of payment.
A digital euro would be an electronic form of central bank money accessible to all citizens and firms – like banknotes but in a digital form. It is not meant to replace cash, but rather to complement it. Together, they give people more choices about how to pay, and make it easier for them to do so, increasing financial inclusion.
The Eurosystem will continue to ensure that all citizens have access to euro banknotes and coins across the euro area.
Why digital euro?
A digital euro as an alternative to cryptocurrencies, would make your daily payments faster, easier and more secure. It could support the digitalisation of the European economy and actively encourage innovation in retail payments.
The ECB and the national central banks of the euro area are exploring the benefits and risks so that money continues to serve Europeans well.
What are other benefits of a digital euro?
A digital euro would preserve the benefits that the euro provides to all of us. It would help to deal with situations in which people no longer prefer cash.
It would help cushion the impact of extreme events – such as natural disasters or pandemics – when traditional payment services may no longer function. It could also be crucial if people were to turn to foreign digital means of payment, which might undermine financial stability and monetary sovereignty in the euro area.
When will it be ready?
During the preparation phase, we are working on the concept, starting practical experimentation on possible designs, and discussing with stakeholders and international partners. Towards the middle of 2021 we will decide whether to launch a digital euro project. This will be followed by an investigation phase on user requirements and service providers.
It would take time to develop a safe, accessible and efficient digital currency. We will ensure that the systems we use to pay keep up with the needs of the people who use them.
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