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ECB takes first step towards digital euro

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The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decided on Wednesday to launch the investigation phase of a digital euro project.

The President of the Eurogroup Paschal Donohoe congratulated the Governing Council and expressed his full support for the project, according to a press release. 

“It has been nine months since we published our report on a digital euro. (…) Our work aims to ensure that in the digital age citizens and firms continue to have access to the safest form of money, central bank money,” said ECB President Christine Lagarde

ECB stated that the investigation phase will last 24 months and aim to address key issues regarding design and distribution and that the digital euro would complement cash, not replace it.

A digital euro must be able to meet the needs of Europeans while at the same time helping to prevent illicit activities and avoiding any undesirable impact on financial stability and monetary policy. 

The investigation phase will examine the use cases that a digital euro should provide as a matter of priority to meet its objectives: a riskless, accessible, and efficient form of digital central bank money.

The project will assess the possible impact of a digital euro on the market, identifying the design options to ensure privacy and avoid risks for euro area citizens, intermediaries and the overall economy.