The European Central Bank (ECB) is planning to launch a prototype of the digital euro in 2023. In the next five years, Europe could have its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) up and running. However, there are still many questions surrounding the prospective digital currency. In what form could it be issued? Is the ECB too late for the CBDC party, especially compared to other central banks such as that of the People’s Republic of China? To address these and other questions, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch spoke with Jonas Gross, chairman of the Digital Euro Association (DEA) and member of the expert panel of the European Blockchain Observatory and Forum.

New digital cash

Gross said that compared to digital cash issued by a commercial bank, central bank money carries fewer risks. A commercial bank can always go bankrupt, but a central bank cannot because in an emergency, it can print as much money as needed. And, in times of crisis, people may want, at least in theory, to transfer all their digital money from a private bank to the central bank, which will mean the end of the commercial banks’ business.

There are two potential mechanisms to avoid such a scenario: Either to set a cap on the amount of funds that a citizen can hold in central bank money or implement a negative interest rate applied to CBDC funds above a specified limit.

“The digital euro is mainly to become a kind of digital cash, also a new payment method and less a store of value. The central bank does not want to take away the banks’ business.”

Complete anonymity

The digital euro will not be…

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