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 costless access to a simple, universally accepted, safe and trusted means of payment.
The digital euro would still be a euro: like banknotes but digital. It would be an electronic form of money issued by the Eurosystem (the ECB and national central banks) and accessible to all citizens and firms.
A digital euro would not replace cash, but rather complement it. The Eurosystem will continue to ensure that you have access to euro cash across the euro area.
A digital euro would give you an additional choice about how to pay and make it easier to do so, contributing to financial inclusion alongside cash.
“The euro belongs to Europeans and we are its guardian. We should be prepared to issue a digital euro, should the need arise.” Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB
Why a digital euro?
A digital euro would be a fast, easy and secure instrument for your daily payments.
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 combine the efficiency of a digital payment instrument with the safety of central bank money.
It would help to deal with situations in which people no longer prefer cash, and it would avoid dependence on digital means of payment issued and controlled from outside the euro area, which might undermine financial stability and monetary sovereignty.
The protection of privacy would be a key priority, so that the digital euro can help maintain trust in payments in the digital age.
When will it be ready?
We have not yet decided whether to issue a digital euro. We are currently in a preparation phase: we are developing the concept, conducting practical experimentation, listening to the views of the broader public and engaging with stakeholders.
We will decide whether to launch a digital euro project towards the middle of 2021, in order to be prepared for the possible issuance of a digital euro at some point in the future. Read a full article on ecb.europa.eu