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Digital euro

A digital euro would be a digital form of cash, issued by the central bank and available to everyone in the euro area.

We are working with the national central banks of the euro area to look into the possible issuance of a digital euro. It would be a central bank digital currency, an electronic equivalent to cash. And it would complement banknotes and coins, giving people an additional choice about how to pay.

Digital euro

Central bank money in digital form, available for any electronic payments in shops, online or from person to person.

What you need to know

What would a digital euro be?

A digital euro would be an electronic means of payment available free of charge to everyone. Like cash today, you could use it anywhere in the euro area, and it would be secure and private. In our increasingly digitalised society, a digital euro would be the next step forward for our single currency.

What would it be?
Why do we need a digital euro?

By making public money available for digital payments, a digital euro would make all our lives easier. We would be able to use it whenever and wherever we need to, for free. This would help strengthen the monetary sovereignty of the euro area and foster competition in the European payments sector.

Why do we need it?
How would a digital euro work?

A digital euro would be stored in an electronic wallet set up with your bank or with a public intermediary. This would allow you to make all your usual electronic payments – in your local store, online, to a friend – with your phone or card, online and offline.

How would it work?
What stage are we at now?

The preparation phase, which starts in November 2023, will focus on further preparing for the development of a digital euro. It builds on the findings from our investigation phase.

Next steps

Frequently Asked Questions

How would a digital euro help me? How would a digital euro be different from stablecoins and crypto-assets? Would a digital euro replace cash? Check out the answers to common questions here.

A stocktake on the digital euro

This report presents the findings of the work the Eurosystem carried out during the digital euro investigation phase, which lasted from October 2021 until October 2023.

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Cooperation with stakeholders

Extensive cooperation with market actors and legislators will ensure that a digital euro meets users’ needs. This is why we are launching a set of initiatives to engage with as many stakeholders as possible.

Governance and stakeholders
Documents and investigation

The digital euro investigation phase produced extensive documentation and detailed analyses of the work that took place. Have a look at our dedicated page to read up on topics that interest you.

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A digital euro in relation to...

… crypto-assets

As a digital euro would be backed by a central bank, it would not be a crypto-asset. Central banks have a mandate to maintain the value of money, whether it is physical or digital. Crypto-assets are not backed or managed by any central institution and there is no guarantee that you can exchange them for cash when you need to.

What's the difference?

… investments

A digital euro should mainly be used as a means of payment rather than an instrument for financial investments. We are examining this issue carefully to avoid negative consequences for the financial sector. The digital euro should be a public good that would benefit the economy and society as a whole.

The digital euro and the evolution of the financial system

… pan-European payments

The way we pay is undergoing a fundamental change, and central banks have a key role to play in this process. European payments must be supported by a competitive and innovative market capable of meeting consumer demands while preserving European sovereignty. To make this happen we have set out a comprehensive payments strategy for the digital age.

Our retail payments strategy

The ECB Podcast

A digital euro: what, why, when? (part 1 & 2)

Do we need a digital euro, and why? What might it look like? And how would it differ from other means of payment? Our host Katie Ranger puts these questions to digital euro expert Evelien Witlox.

Listen to the podcast episodes

The digital euro, demystified

We are preparing for the possibility of issuing a digital euro. This is fuelling a lot of interest − and misconceptions – despite the fact that no decision has yet been taken. Our host Stefania Secola and digital euro project head Evelien Witlox debunk some myths.

Listen to the podcast episode

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