The plans of the European Central Bank (ECB) for a digital euro are gradually taking shape. Christine Lagarde confirmed that the starting signal would be given next January, if the institution concludes that the issuance of a central bank digital currency (MNBC) is necessary.
ECB to decide on digital euro launch in January
The European Central Bank (ECB) launched a public consultation on the digital euro at the end of last October. The institution was sometimes evasive about an MNBC , but we still note an evolution of the language of the President of the ECB.
Christine Lagarde has indeed explained that the decision to start developing a digital euro would be taken in January 2021, during an online forum . She also clarified that the European Central Bank did not want to “ race to be first“ … While unofficially confirming that the launch of an MNBC is very likely:
“We will make a decision on whether we will move forward on the digital euro. […] My feeling – but it’s a decision that will be taken collectively – is that we could very well go in that direction .“
Two to four years of development
Cautious as always, the ECB insists, however, that this project will take time. Lagarde has indeed confirmed that the project will take two to four years of development before a functional digital euro is launched. It also drew a parallel with the Chinese digital yuan, which appears to be on the verge of being issued, but of which little is known yet, information arriving in dribbles.
What is certain is that the digital euro seems to be well on its way to being developed by the ECB. The development time will be long, much longer than for public cryptocurrencies. Will this give the latter a chance to establish themselves as a real alternative ? The years to come we will say it.