Digital euro still two years away as ECB president Christine Lagarde takes on conspiracy theorists
The digital euro will not arrive until at least late 2025, the European Central Bank’s (ECB) president Christine Lagarde told a Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs this week, while also vowing to “address all the conspiracy theory” behind the technology.
When laying out a timetable for when a digital euro could be delivered, she confirmed that the bank is currently waiting on the green light of the governing council to conduct further pilots of the project, which according to Lagarde, “will probably take us another two years at least”.
The council is not expected to reach a decision on this until late next month, at the end of the ECB’s 24-month investigation into the design, distribution and general appetite for a digital euro.
During the session, parliament member and lawyer Nicola Beer questioned how Lagarde sought to track the privacy concerns raised in the currency’s design and the cost of implementation, namely in the form of transition and holding limits and the need for user identification.
Lagarde replied that it’s the project’s goal to “make sure that privacy is protected, not anonymity” – an element she views as essential to the success of the digital euro.
Beer pressed Lagarde on how she plans to measure the success of the project, and what metrics would be used in the ECB’s evaluation.
“If it can be user friendly, if it can be free. If it can be a universal digital mode of payments throughout the entire Euro system, I think it will have checked many of the boxes which I believe would characterise success,” she replied, although stating that she was uncertain as to whether metrics would focus on transaction volumes, user numbers or demographics.
She also expressed a keen desire to “address all the conspiracy theory that abounds about this” and to quell fears that “Big Brother was going to suddenly determine what to buy, when you buy it and how restricted it should be”.
For the next month, the financial industry joins the ECB in waiting patiently for the governing council’s green light.