Digital euro: a safe and secure alternative to bank deposits?
The European Commission just released its long-awaited proposal for a digital euro, representing a significant milestone in the digitalisation of public money. This development sets the stage for a democratic debate, as the project shifts from the investigation phase conducted by the European Central Bank to the chambers of the European Parliament and the Council.
Cash, the only form of public central bank money currently available to people, is gradually decreasing as a means of payment due to the increasing demands of digital payments, banks closing down ATMs and the fact that some sections of the economy, such as e-commerce, do not envisage cash as payment options. Today, we largely rely on bank deposits, which are inherently fragile and pose concerns to the accessibility and cost of money. In this context, the digital euro presents an opportunity to provide a safer alternative to bank deposits, ensuring that everyone has access to a reliable form of public money.
What is the EU Commission’s proposal missing?
We welcome the European Commission’s proposal as an initial step towards building a digital euro that prioritises the interests of the people. A democratic debate surrounding the digital euro is essential to guaranteeing its design caters to the needs of individuals and society. Recognizing the role of public intermediaries in the distribution of the digital euro is crucial to ensuring its public nature comprehensively. However, any decision about limits on the amount of digital euros that people can hold should be grounded in research that explores the feasibility of no limits, or gradually increasing the limits, for financial stability.
The release of the European Commission’s proposal signifies an important milestone in the development of the digital euro. The upcoming democratic and political debate will be instrumental in shaping its final form, ensuring it aligns with the principles of accessibility, privacy and financial stability. Find out more in our position paper ‘A digital euro for the people’.