Forty-three percent of the respondents told the ECB that they value privacy. The results of the public consultation indicate that the majority prefer integration with the existing banking systems.
The European Central Bank (ECB) applied a survey on the development of the digital euro to citizens and institutions. Almost 90% of the respondents request privacy, security, ability to pay across the eurozone, free use, and offline usability.
Fabio Panetta, a member of the Executive Committee of the organization, said that they will work so that the digital euro respond to these requests. In this way, the manager referred to the results of the consultation, the details of which appear on the official website of the ECB.
It is a detailed analysis of responses from over 8,200 people about Europe’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) project. The respondents expressed their ideas about the digital euro between October 2020 and January 2021.
The text indicates that 94% of the opinions came from private citizens. The remaining 6% were professionals, banks, payment service providers, technology companies, and businesses. Germany gave 47% of the responses, preceding Italy (with 15%) and France (with 11%).
User Privacy and Protection against Illegal Activities
Privacy was the most relevant characteristic for 43% of the public, “especially for traders and other companies.” The latter also emphasized the requirements to prevent illegal activities.
According to Panetta, citizens “want confidentiality and privacy, but understand the importance of safeguarding the stability of the financial system.” The executive said that, for this, “the authorities need to have access to some of their private data.”
He explained that fewer than one in ten responses supported total anonymity. Besides, he noted that a large part of the participants requested integration with the banking system.
A quarter of those surveyed believes that a digital euro should enable faster and cheaper cross-border payments. They also consider that they should be able to use the digital euro outside the region, complying with certain limits.
The Digital Euro Is a Supplement to Cash
Panetta said that the digital euro could only be successful if it complies with what Europeans need. The executive highlighted the advantages that it could bring to the eurozone by “maintaining sovereignty over money.”
The digital euro project is similar to the digital yuan, China’s CBDC, as both projects seek to supplement cash. Also, they are classified as cash-like retail digital currencies, functioning and complying with the same money regulations. Both promise privacy (not anonymity) and seek to compete with stablecoins and crypto-assets like Bitcoin.
The recent publication of the ECB confirmed the preliminary conclusions of the consultation presented in mid-January. The survey had record participation, for which the ECB has described it as successful.
These results indicate that the European authorities could approve formal research into the digital euro. When it is complete, it will be necessary to decide whether its implementation will eventually occur. They expect the project to be ready in about four years, according to ECB President Christine Lagarde.
By Alexander Salazar