ECB: Digital Euro Will Protect Eurozone From Competitor Cryptocurrencies
In an interview with the Financial Times, ECB executive board member Fabio Panetta said the introduction of the digital euro would strengthen consumer privacy and protect the eurozone from the « threat » of competing currencies that could undermine the area’s digital sovereignty.
« If the central bank is involved in digital payments, they should be well protected because we are not private companies, » said Mr Panetta, who is responsible for developing and implementing the digital euro at the ECB. « We have no commercial interest in storing, managing or monetising user data. « Of course, there is a potential threat that could come from other creators of digital payment methods. After all, if people want to make digital payments and we don’t give them that opportunity, someone else will. »
In the interview, the official also contrasted the digital euro, due out in the next five years, with « unstable cryptocurrencies » such as Diem, a planned cryptocurrency from Facebook.
Mr Panetta did not inadvertently emphasise a point about user privacy when using digital currencies issued centrally by the authorities. In April, the ECB conducted a survey on citizens’ attitudes towards plans to issue digital euros, which found that more than 40% of the 8,200 respondents felt that a high level of user data protection and payment privacy should be a priority for such payments. Answers often included the wish for the digital euro to have the features of cash to allow payments without an internet connection.
The ECB says that it is listening to the wishes of citizens and has already started testing offline payments for small amounts of up to €70-100, where no data are transmitted outside the wallets of the sender and recipient of the payment, and the connection between these wallets is made via Bluetooth.