Digital euro project adds Italian payments provider Nexi

Digital euro project adds Italian payments provider Nexi

Several countries have started plans to launch their central bank digital currency (CBDC). In July, the governing council of the European Central Bank (ECB) launched the investigation phase of a digital euro project.

The investigation phase of the digital euro project is intended to last for 24 months. The design will be based on users’ preferences and technical advice by merchants and intermediaries.

“We will engage with the European Parliament and other European decision-makers and inform them regularly about our findings. Citizens, merchants and the payments industry will also be involved,” ECB Board Member and Chair of the High-Level Task Force on a digital euro Fabio Panetta said.

According to ECB President Christine Lagarde, “Our work aims to ensure that in the digital age citizens and firms continue to have access to the safest form of money, central bank money.”

A digital euro must be able to meet the needs of Europeans while preventing financial instability and illicit activities. This will not prejudge any future decision on the possible issuance of a digital euro. The digital euro is intended to complement cash and not replace it in 19 countries in the zone.

Nexi joins CBDC project

The Italian payment company Nexi is one of the biggest payments companies in Europe and is working in collaboration with the European Central Bank towards the creation of a digital euro.

Nexi offers payments services for other banks, managing 41.3 million payment cards and about 2.7 billion transactions each year. They also provide services for merchants and digital banking groups. Nexi’s position is that central bank digital currencies may be very important for the future of payments, at the same level as stablecoins.

“We are engaging with the European Central Bank and contributing to the design of the future digital euro because we believe that can be a positive force in the evolution of digital payments,” said Nexi’s CEO, Paolo Bertoluzzo in an interview at the Money 20/20 conference.

Concerning the nature of the collaboration, Bertoluzzo said in a statement, “We are starting to talk about a new version of cash. That’s the way they think about it”.

Panetta, however, advised there should be consideration of the possible risks associated with CBDC amid the advantage.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

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