The European Central Bank (ECB) plans to actively develop its central bank digital currency (CBDC) to facilitate cheaper and quicker payments for individuals and corporates, Coindesk website reported.
The move is also aimed at overcoming an expected decline in the use of cash.
ECB President Christine Lagarde said the bank does not oppose cryptocurrencies even if they are created outside it.
“[T]he prospect of central bank initiatives should neither discourage nor crowd out private market-led solutions for fast and efficient retail payments in the euro area,” she said.
Lagarde stressed that the bank will study the feasibility of issuing CBDC to ensure that people are able to use it “even if the use of physical cash eventually declines.”
“We are working on all aspects of CBDC, with in-depth analysis of costs and benefits of such a new form of central bank money. It will take a while before we will communicate on our conclusions,” she noted.
She earlier pointed out that ECB seeks to make sure that all institutions cope with the fast changing financial industry.
“Average cash use across 11 countries [including non-European ones] is falling by an average of 1.3 percent to 2.2 percent a year,” an ECB report showed.