Report on a digital euro

European Central Bank
European Central Bank
Publication Year:
  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

On 2 October 2020 the European Central Bank published a report on a digital euro.

This report examines the issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) – the digital euro – from the perspective of the Eurosystem. Such a digital euro can be understood as central bank money offered in digital form for use by citizens and businesses for their retail payments. It would complement the current offering of cash and wholesale central bank deposits.

Reasons to issue a digital euro

A digital euro could support the Eurosystem’s objectives by providing citizens with access to a safe form of money in the fast-changing digital world.

The possible advantages of a digital euro and the rapid changes in the retail payment landscape imply that the Eurosystem needs to be equipped to issue it in the future.

Potential effects of a digital euro

The Eurosystem would design the digital euro in such a way as to avoid possible undesirable implications for the fulfilment of its mandate, for the financial industry and for the broader economy.

Legal considerations

The Eurosystem must address a number of important legal considerations related to a digital euro, including the legal basis for issuance, the legal implications of different design features and the applicability of EU legislation to the Eurosystem as the issuer.

Digital euro functional design possibilities

This report deliberately does not advocate a specific type of digital euro. Any potential solution must satisfy a number of principles and requirements that are identified in this report while complying with relevant legislation.

Technical and organisational approaches to digital euro services

This section describes selected design options for the technical implementation of a digital euro at the level of the back-end infrastructure and end-user access solutions.

The underlying back-end infrastructure for the provision of a digital euro can either be centralised, with all transactions recorded in the central bank’s ledger, or feature some decentralisation of responsibilities to users and/or supervised intermediaries, thus also enabling the provision of a bearer digital euro. Regardless of the approach, the back-end infrastructure should be ultimately controlled by the central bank.

Follow-up work

To ensure that meaningful answers are obtained to the open questions raised in this report, towards mid-2021 the Eurosystem will decide whether to launch a digital euro project, which would start with an investigation phase.

Public consultation on a digital euro

Feedback from future end users and potential intermediaries is also necessary. Hence, the Eurosystem will solicit the views of other public authorities, financial institutions and society at large to assess the need, feasibility and actual business cases for a digital euro, without pre-empting a decision on issuance.


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