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Digital Euro will be free to use, but Privacy is up to Legislators

The digital euro will be available to everyone, but politicians will determine how the Central Bank will access personal information.

The Digital Euro will be free to use and open to everybody, but lawmakers will decide what personal information the bank will have access to, according to a statement issued by the European Central Bank on January 23.

Fabio Panetta, a member of the ECB’s Executive Board, stated:

It will then be up to you, the co-legislators, to establish the optimal balance between the protection of privacy and the achievement of other important objectives of a public nature.

The executive stated key public goals such as combating money laundering, terrorism financing, and tax evasion or compliance with any sanctions.

Researchers previously advocated a supervised intermediary strategy for the digital euro rather than a direct-to-central bank concept.

The European Central Bank considers that supervised intermediaries are best placed to discover use cases for conditional payments and other advanced payment services. The ECB might create its own separate payment app or allow private banks to act as middlemen by incorporating the digital euro into their systems.

In October 2021, the ECB began researching the digital euro. The ECB intends to finish the basic phase of the digital euro project by 2023.

According to Fabio Panetta, the European Commission will publish its legislative proposal on the currency this year. However, as the CEO noted, the top bank would continue to investigate the currency throughout the year.

Panetta went on to say:

The priority of the digital euro project has always been clear: to preserve the role of central bank-issued money in retail payments while offering users the option to use it even where this is not possible today, such as in e-commerce.

The Digital Euro token EURM is already being tested with a small sample of applicants in Spain. However, the Eurogroup of the European Council stated on January 16 that future digital euros will not be programmable and will automatically convert to traditional assets.

 

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