The central bank digital currency [CBDC] wave seems not to spare anyone. A few months ago, the European Central Bank aka ECB, taken an interest in CBDCs and decided to move forward with its research.The bank, however, chose to involve the public as it intended to garner the public’s expectation on the development of the digital euro.
Just as China and Japan have been announcing the swift development of their CBDC, Europe seemed to be taking it slow. Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, even revealed that developing the digital euro could take up to four years. Even so, the bank’s latest announcement seemed to be promising.
ECB’s Digital Euro Must Entail Privacy
The central bank had allowed the public to list out their priorities and expectations with the digital euro, under the public digital euro consultation initiative. The bank managed to amass over 8,200 responses out of which 47% of the responses were from Germany. Italy and France recorded a total of 15% and 11% respectively. This consultation was rolled out back in October 2020 and went on till 12 January 2021.
Furthermore, with 94% of these respondents being private citizens, over 43% sought privacy from the digital euro. About 18% of them expected security from the CBDC. The ECB further wrote,
“Privacy is the most important feature of a digital euro for both the public and professionals, especially merchants and other companies. Both groups support requirements to avoid illicit activities, with fewer than one in ten responses from members of the public showing support for full anonymity.”
Interoperability is a must now. The ability to pay across different areas of Europe was demanded by 11% of the participants. While 9% did not want additional costs the remaining 8% asked for offline usability.
The ECB further reported that the aforementioned numbers were a record for the bank with regard to the participation of the public. Hearing out the needs of the public, the Executive Board member of the bank, Fabio Panetta suggested that the digital euro would be successful only if it complied with the demands of the public. Panetta added,
“We will do our best to ensure that a digital euro meets the expectations of citizens highlighted in the public consultation.”