Privacy most important factor for digital euro, ECB survey finds

A public survey carried out by the European Central Bank (ECB) has found that privacy is the most important feature of a digital euro for consumers.

In an announcement, ECB confirmed it had received some 8,200 responses to its consultation on the matter, including from across the business community. Among the responses, the bank said it had received a number of helpful technical contributions on how best to realize the digital euro.

Some 43% of respondents, including members of the public, said that privacy was the most important feature for them in the state-backed digital currency. However, the majority stopped short of total anonymity, with only 1 in 10 highlighting anonymous transactions as an important feature of a digital currency.

Second to privacy was the issue of security, which flagged for 18% of respondents. A further 11% said the ease with which the digital euro could be used as a currency, while 9% said it should come with no additional fees. 8% of members put offline usability as their main factor.

Fabio Panetta, a member of the executive board at the ECB, said the digital euro would be designed with citizens as the foremost consideration.

“We will do our best to ensure that a digital euro meets the expectations of citizens highlighted in the public consultation.”

The findings come at a time of increasing interest in central bank digital currencies globally, with major central banks around the world weighing up their own solutions.

Plans for a digital euro continue to advance, with European institutions projecting a launch within the next four years. ECB President Christine Lagarde said the digital euro would be ready on a four-year timeline if plans for a rollout are approved in the summer.

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