Supervised intermediaries like banks and payment service providers would facilitate the distribution of a digital euro. This is according to Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, whilst making a presentation at the European Banking Federation Executive Committee Meeting on March 10, 2023.
Panetta said that the digital euro will only complement but not replace cash, wholesale central bank deposits, or other electronic payment methods. According to Panetta, a digital euro scheme appears to be the best way of distributing the digital euro and ensuring usability throughout the euro area.
Panetta elaborated that a digital euro scheme would establish a single set of rules, standards, and procedures that supervised intermediaries would need to adhere to while developing products and services. In addition, the digital euro scheme would ensure that users always have access to certain core services, irrespective of their intermediary or wallet.
On data privacy concerns, Panetta advised that the ECB was working on solutions that would preserve privacy by default and by design, thereby giving people control of their payment data. He stated that the ECB proposes not to have access to personal data and is closely engaging with the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Data Protection Board.
The digital euro project is currently in the investigation stage, launched in 2021. The ECB Governing Council will review the investigation phase of the project in the autumn of 2023 to decide whether to move to a realisation phase.
The realisation phase would involve developing and testing the technical solutions and business arrangements necessary to eventually provide and distribute a digital euro, if and when decided.
In remarks made at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament in Brussels on January 23, 2023, Panetta said that a digital euro would be envisaged as a European public good, accessible and usable by all citizens and firms without barriers, regardless of their intermediary or member state.
Panetta explained that the design of a digital euro would include both online and offline functionalities. The offline capabilities would offer privacy to digital euro payments and also enable payments without internet access. He said that supervised intermediaries could either integrate the digital euro into their platforms or it could be accessed through a new digital euro app.
A possible decision by the ECB Governing Council to issue a digital euro will only be taken after the Parliament and the Council of the EU have adopted the legislative act.