Digital Euro

ECB seeking stakeholder input on the digital euro rulebook

The European Central Bank (ECB) is seeking input from industry stakeholders on the rulebook for its digital euro. The regional bank is inviting experienced experts in the payments sector to join the Rulebook Development Group.

In recent months, the ECB has ramped up its efforts towards a digital euro. The bank kicked off an investigation phase this month, inviting stakeholders to participate in market research that will go toward the technical design of the regional central bank digital currency (CBDC). In December, the bank published a second progress report on a set of design and distribution options that its Governing Council approved.

The ECB is now focusing its efforts on laying the groundwork for regulating the digital euro, which it still hasn’t committed to issuing and claims to be exploring its options.

“To support the drafting of a scheme rulebook, obtain market input and gain an industry perspective, the Eurosystem is establishing a digital euro scheme Rulebook Development Group. This will be composed of market representatives with relevant experience and of Eurosystem staff,” the bank stated.

The ECB appointed Christian Schäfer as the lead of the rulebook group in December. Successful applicants to the group will work under the chairmanship of the Deutsche Bank executive. Applicants must represent a stakeholder association such as payment service providers, consumers, merchants, or banks to qualify. Applications close on January 20.

The ECB continues to lead other regional banks in probing the feasibility of a regional CBDC. It has been exploring aspects such as the role of intermediaries responsible for onboarding end users, the best settlement model for the proposed digital euro, and its distribution model.

While it has officially not committed to launching a digital euro, experts believe that politically, the CBDC has reached a point of no return. Initially, it was the regional bank’s response to Facebook’s Libra/Diem stablecoin project and the rise of Bitcoin in Europe.

However, since then, it has evolved, and major economies are now backing the digital euro as they believe programmable money could give their economies a big boost at a time when digital payments are surging.

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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