Evelyn Witlocks, director of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) digital euro programme, has said that digitalisation of the euro would make Europe “more resilient”, while defending that the currency could serve to provide funding to private companies . Innovate and develop additional financial services.
During his speech at the conference organized by Funcas and the Bank of Spain on the digital euro, Vitellox spoke about the potential of the digital euro in the face of the decline in cash payments, which in 2019 were 72% of the total, and by 2022 they will be 59%. , while card payments have increased from 9% to 34%, with the majority of them using ‘contactless’ payments.
“These data show that there is a gap between Europeans’ payment preferences and central bank money, which is currently only available as cash,” he defended. However, they have announced that the ECB intends to adapt the digital euro to effectively make payments more in line with user preferences.
Regarding its use, he explained that there will be an online mode, but also ‘offline’ when power or internet is missing, and that it will be “accessible” and with a “high level of privacy”.
In October, the Governing Council of the ECB announced that the research phase of the digital euro project had been completed and was moving towards the preparation phase, which started on November 1, 2023 and will have an estimated duration of two years.
This preparation phase will lay the foundation for a potential digital euro and work done during this period will include finalizing operating rules and selecting suppliers that can develop the platform and infrastructure of the digital euro.
Based on the results of the research phase, the ECB has designed a digital euro that will be widely accessible to citizens and businesses through its distribution through supervised intermediaries such as credit institutions.