Digital Euro

The digital euro is a European Union project to create the digital version of euro cash. It would be legally accepted by all merchants within the euro area, and also will allow to make transactions between their holders.

As 2023, it is only a project and it has not been implement.

The project is lead by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Digital Euro Characteristics


  • Price of using it: free of charge to all euro area residents
  • Legal acceptance: euro area.

An electronic wallet would be needed to store digital euros. Electronic wallet would be managed by banks or public intermediaries, and they would have a limit. The idea behind this restriction is to prevent excessive outflows of deposits from banks, preserving financial stability.

Electronic wallets are not linked by default to a bank account. However, if you want to extend the electronic wallet limit beyond, it should be linked to a bank account.

A card issued by the ECB could be linked to a eletronic wallet, when no bank account is linked.

The currency will be supported by offline transactions.

The digital euro would be issued by the BCE and the European central banks.

The value of digital euro would be guaranteed by the European authorities, that would convert one digital euro into a 1 € coin and viceversa. Its value would be immutable.

According to the European authorities, its use would never be restricted.

According to the European Central Bank (ECB), no personal data will be processed or stored beyond the transactional needs.

The digital euro would be complementary to the euro billnotes and coins, and it is not intented to substitute the latter.

What is the difference between the digital euro and cryptoassets?

The digital euro would be a central bank money, not a cryptocurrency.

The digital euro, unlike other decentralized cryptocurrencies like BitCoin or Ethereum:

  • Is centralized in the European Central Bank (ECB)
  • Has a guaranteed exchanged value, guaranteed by the ECB
  • A central bank looks for its stability
  • A central bank looks for its safety

Benefits of Digital Euro

Digital euro has benefits for euro users and society.

User benefits:

  • Guaranteed value of a digital asset, unlike cryptocurrencies
  • All users have access to an electronic wallet, and it does not depend on bank acceptance

Society benefits:

  • Reduced dependency on non-European payment methods and providers
  • Strengthen the monetary sovereignty of the euro area
  • Foster competition and efficiency in the European payments sector
  • Respond to the growing demand for safe and trusted electronic payments
  • Cross-country European project, not limited to national boundaries

Next Steps on Digital Euro

The next steps are:

  1. Investigation phase (2021-2023)
  2. Preparation phase (Nov-2023 – )
    • Create a digital euro rulebook
    • Select providers that could potentially develop a digital euro platform and infrastructure
    • Testing
  3. Decision phase
    • Decide whether the digital euro will be adopted
  4. Implementation phase
    • Adopt a legislative framework for the digital euro at the European level.

The result of the investigation phase was the report “A stocktake on the digital euro”, than can be read on this external link.


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Official website

BCE quiz about digital euro

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