The European Central Bank (ECB) inched closer to a “digital euro” on Wednesday with the formal launch of a pilot project, but questions remain about potential pitfalls and benefits for eurozone citizens. The move comes as the coronavirus pandemic has hastened a shift away from cash, and as central bankers around the world nervously track the rise of private cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The digital euro, sometimes dubbed “e-euro”, would be an electronic version of euro notes and coins. It would for the first time allow individuals and companies to have deposits directly with the ECB. This could be safer than with commercial banks, which can go bust. The ECB has promised that any future digital euro would be “a fast, easy and secure way” to make payments. The service would be free and payments could be made by card or smartphone app.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2021.
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