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ECB execs plan to launch digital euro CBDC in November 2025

As efforts to adopt the digital euro in Europe by the end of 2025 continue, there will be holding restrictions for end users, but not for businesses.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is moving ahead with plans to launch the digital euro, aiming to provide a pan-European digital payment solution to complement cash payments, according to ECB Executive Board member Piero Cipollone. Speaking at the Convegno Innovative Payments Conference, Cipollone outlined the fundamental design choices and concepts behind the digital euro project, according to a note released on March 13th.Bitcoin Miner

As payment trends evolve, reflecting a growing preference for digital payments, the ECB seeks to make life easier by providing a public means of digital payment that can be used free of charge for any digital transaction in the eurozone.Cipollone emphasized that the digital euro will bring cash-like characteristics to the digital world, including offline availability, free of charge for basic use, and respect for privacy, with a while having pan-European coverage.

ECB digital euro usage | Source.

However, some critics have raised concerns about the privacy implications of the digital euro. In a recent post, WalkerAmerica, host of the Bitcoin-focused Titcoin podcast, expressed skepticism about the ECB’s statement on privacy:

“Europe is planning to launch a digital euro CBDC from 2025 and they claim it will be ‘private’ but it’s not, because Lagarde already wants to put you in jail for €1000+ anonymous cash payments. Research #bitcoin and quit this totalitarian surveillance token.”

The released slides show that the Digital Euro is intended to be open to everyone, including individuals and businesses, covering all retail payment scenarios within the Eurozone that accept digital payments.Cipollone highlighted the current lack of a European digital payment method that covers all Eurozone countries, with 13 out of 20 countries relying on international payment schemes, resolving 69% of all digital transactions in the EU. The Digital Euro aims to fill this gap by providing a standardized digital payments platform for the entire Eurozone.

In addressing the issue of inclusivity, Cipollone noted that digital euro payments can also be made via physical cards, with cash available for top-ups and withdrawals. Users will have access to face-to-face technical support and easy switching of intermediaries. Selected public entities will also provide intermediary services for unbanked users.Whatsminer Miner

Data protection and privacy are said to be the top priorities of the Digital Euro project. The Eurosystem will implement safeguards to ensure high data protection standards, including internal data segregation and auditing. Once ready and tested on large payment systems, innovative privacy-enhancing technologies will be employed to promote higher privacy standards for digital euro users.

However, the crypto industry is not too optimistic about this, for example, Bitcoin author Qunten Francois commented, “Cash is anonymous and uncensorable, but digital euros are not.” Additionally, in February, Cipollone spoke in front of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee to allay concerns about the security of the digital euro.

The presentation also claimed that the digital euro would be distributed through regulated payment service providers (PSPs) in order to maintain a healthy balance between central banks and commercial currencies.PSPs would exclusively distribute the digital euro in order to strengthen customer relationships and benefit from open standards. The digital euro rulebook, drafted with the participation of market participants, will establish common standards to ensure pan-European coverage and a harmonized payment experience, while giving the market the freedom to develop innovative solutions.

ECB Digital Euro PSP | Source.

It is worth noting that the slide above shows a “holding limit” for end-users but still no limit for “corporates”, suggesting that there will be a limit on the number of digital euros that retail users will be able to hold, but no limit for corporates. These features are intended to create “a healthy balance between central banks and commercial currencies,” according to the presentation.

The digital euro project has gone through an initial investigation phase (October 2021 to October 2023), focusing on concept definition, technology exploration and design proposals. The current preparation phase (November 2023-October 2025) includes finalization of the program rulebook, selection of the service provider, learning through experimentation, further research on offline functionality, and testing and go-live plans. The ECB will only consider the decision to issue a digital euro once the EU legislative process has been completed. However, the document sets out plans for a potential November 2025 launch.

ECB digital euro timeline | Source.

As the ECB moves forward with its digital euro plans, the debate around privacy and potential surveillance continues. Critics like WalkerAmerica have urged individuals to research Bitcoin and withdraw from what they see as “totalitarian surveillance tokens. “The ECB will need to address these concerns and provide clear assurances on data protection and user privacy in order to gain widespread acceptance of the digital euro.



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