The European Central Bank, or ECB, has announced that it will collaborate with five companies to develop potential digital user interfaces for the euro.
In an announcement on Friday, the ECB said it had chosen “Big Four” tech company Amazon, fintech company Nexi, Spanish digital bank CaixaBank, French payment platform Worldline and the Initiative Payments Union (EPI), so that each of them would focus on the development of a prototype based on specific use cases of the digital euro. According to the central bank, the companies will create top-of-the-line prototypes, which will not be used in later phases of the digital currency project.
The ECB chose the five companies because they met “specific capabilities” compared to 50 other front-end developers that responded to the central bank’s call in April. Officials planned for the project to be completed in the first quarter of 2023 as part of a two-year research phase into the digital euro, which is expected to end in October 2023.
With interest in central bank digital currencies appearing to be growing around the world, ECB officials have been exploring the potential impact of a digital euro in Europe, while being vague about whether the bank could launch one. CBDC or when. The central bank commissioned a series of focus groups on digital payment methods in September 2021 which suggested that the use of digital currency in physical and online stores could be a key feature of a digital euro. An earlier public consultation also suggested that privacy was considered “the most important feature of a digital euro by both citizens and professionals.”
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