The recent proliferation of crypto assets and other digital currencies is rapidly transforming the financial industry and the very concept of money. In response to these developments, many central banks are considering the possibility of introducing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), to be used as an alternative to cash. These trends have led to a lively debate on the role that a new sovereign digital currency could play in the monetary system. Some claim that the creation of a CBDC looks like a solution in search of problem because the private sector is already responding to the needs of faster and cheaper payment services. The opposite view is that, if nothing is done, central banks could eventually lose the capacity to conduct monetary policy, to preserve financial stability and to ensure the proper functioning of the payment system. While the European Central Bank (ECB) has yet to make a final decision, in July 2021 it announced the start of a two-year “investigation phase” on the possible introduction of a euro CBDC, in which the views of prospective users and of those who will distribute the new currency will be sought.
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