The European Central Bank (ECB) published in October 2020 a comprehensive report on the possible issuance of a digital euro, prepared by the Eurosystem High-Level Task Force on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). A public consultation was launched on 12 October 2020, following the publication of the Eurosystem report on a digital euro. The ECB will publish a comprehensive analysis of the public consultation in the spring, which will serve as an important input for the ECB’s Governing Council when deciding whether to launch a digital euro project.

ECB – Report on the digital euro

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The Eurosystem Task Force identified possible scenarios that would require the issuance of a digital euro. This report describes the main grounds that might justify the issuance of a digital euro under a set of plausible scenarios and derives scenario-specific requirements that would allow a digital euro to fulfil the stated objectives (e.g. increased demand for electronic payments in the euro area that would require a European risk-free digital means of payment or a significant decline in the use of cash).

Executive summary

The ECB published in October 2020 a comprehensive report on the possible issuance of a digital euro. A digital euro would be an electronic form of central bank money accessible to all citizens and firms to make their daily payments in a fast, easy and secure way. It would complement cash, not replace it. The Eurosystem will continue to issue cash in any case.

Main content

This Technical Note is structured in four key aspects:

  • Reasons to issue a digital euro. The report determines the scenario-driven requirements, which would make the introduction of a digital euro consistent with the fulfilment of the Eurosystem’s objectives and the needs of potential users.
  • Potential effects and risks. The digital euro should be designed so as to avoid potential undesirable consequences of its issuance, thereby limiting any adverse effects on monetary policy and financial stability, and on the provision of services by the banking sector, as well as mitigating possible risks.
  • Digital euro functional design possibilities. Based on its possible features, two broad types of digital euro have been identified that would satisfy the desired characteristics: offline and online.
  • Technical and organisational approaches to digital euro services. The underlying back-end infrastructure for the provision of a digital euro can either be centralized or feature some decentralisation of responsibilities to users and/or supervised intermediaries.

Download the technical note by clicking here