EU citizens are unlikely to get their hands on a digital euro until 2026 at the earliest, as the European Central bank considers further design and distribution considerations .
One particular sticking point appears to be around offline use, in which transactions are validated on a peer-to-peer basis, as opposed to online checks conducted by individual banks. “The time to market for this solution is more uncertain” the ECB states. “The development of a third-party validated solution for online payments should not be delayed in case the timely delivery of a peer-to-peer validated solution for offline payments proves to be unfeasible.”
The EU central banks says the Governing Council will decide in autumn 2023 whether to start a “realisation phase “to develop and test the appropriate technical solutions and business arrangements necessary to provide a digital euro.
“This phase could last around three years,” says the central bank. “A decision on the possible issuance of a digital euro may only come later, also depending on legislative developments regarding a regulation to establish and govern essential aspects of the digital euro that will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, upon a proposal by the European Commission.”
In an update to lawmakers, ECB board member Fabio Panetta says policy makers will soon start work on a rulebook for the digital euro scheme.
“Putting in place a set of rules from an early stage is crucial for the market to be able to develop digital euro solutions and be ready if and when a digital euro is introduced,” he says.
Panetta faced a series of questions from the audience on the decision to select Amazon to help in the development of a digital euro prototype, with law makers expressing concern over privacy issues and the company’s American roots and market dominance.
In response, Panetta re-iterated that the prototype under development had little bearing on future plans for wider participation in the project.
“We will work together with different stakeholders – intermediaries, consumers and retailers – so that they can contribute their views and expertise as the scheme is being developed,” he says.