- Hundreds of consultation participants stated that they prefer cash over a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC).
- The aim of the consultation was to “establish and regulate essential aspects of the digital euro as a new form of money”.
- The survey will remain open to the public until June 14th.
The European Central Bank has initiated a public consultation survey to discern the opinions of European citizens regarding the issuance project of the digital euro which the institution has been working on for several months.
So far some 11,000 people have expressed their opinions on the official website of the European Commission, with many of them outright rejecting the idea of replacing the physical euro with a digital euro, and explaining their reasoning.
The objective of the institution, which is in charge of the regulations that govern the monetary policy of the eurozone, to better understand the stance held by European citizens towards the establishment and regulation of a digital currency, or CBDC, by the central bank that would act as a counterpart to the physical euro.
"This initiative aims to establish and regulate essential aspects of the digital euro as a new form of central bank money, which could be issued by the European Central Bank / Eurosystem together with banknotes and coins," said the issuing body.
The Majority Reject the Digital Euro
Based on a quick review of the comments made so far, which can be viewed on the website, a majority of the respondents do not agree with the concept of the digital euro as a new payment system, with many stating that they prefer a more private method, like cash.
“A digital euro is a further step towards total surveillance and control of all citizens by the state and the banks. The latter already have too much information about people's private lives,” says one anonymous participant.
Other anonymous participants asserted: “I am against the introduction of the digital euro. With the strength and power of my free will, I declare and demand the shutdown and dissolution of all energies associated with the introduction of the digital euro. The goal is for states to monitor and control individual citizens.”
“No, cash should not be abolished. Cash means freedom: A digital currency can be convenient, but it can also be controlled, and that should not happen. Unthinkable if this is done by the wrong people or governments,” wrote Germany-based Christy Márquez.
The public consultation was opened by the ECB two months after the institution announced the start of the discussion process on a regulatory legal framework for the issuance of the digital euro. The survey will remain open until June 14th.
The issuer is also consulting the other European regulatory authorities on this subject. The ECB is currently assessing the possible risks and benefits offered by a CBDC, which is scheduled to be issued next year should the law be enacted.
On the Flipside
- According to the ECB, the reasoning behind issuing a digital currency is to facilitate improvements to the payment system, not to completely replace the physical euro.
- The other underlying reason is to not fall behind other similar digital currency projects that are in their relatively advanced stages, like China’s digital yuan and Russia’s digital ruble.
- Likewise, the rapid global adoption and growth of private cryptocurrencies, especially stablecoins, has forced central banks to create their own digital money.
Why You Should Care
- It is not clear what the ECB will do if the number of people voicing rejection of the concept in the consultation remains so high.
- One thing that is certain is that the ECB will have to allay the concerns of European citizens before issuing a CBDC.
One of the European countries to have shown great enthusiasm for digital money is Sweden, which launched its own digital currency backed by the central bank. The IMF, for its part, has gone on record to state that CBDCs may be better than cryptocurrencies.