The Bank of Italy today publishes A digital euro: a contribution to the discussion on technical design choices, the tenth issue of the series 'Markets, infrastructures, payment systems'.
In the last decade, the advent of new technologies has dramatically changed the banking and financial ecosystem. Financial operators have transformed their services in the context of the Fintech phenomenon; households’ payment habits are rapidly changing as well, embracing the revolution brought by the digital innovations. In this context, a number of central banks are devoting significant resources to examining the feasibility of introducing a digital currency as a complement to physical money.
After an introduction that illustrates the main characteristics defining a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the paper presents ongoing CBDC-related work around the globe, discusses how a digital currency could support a central bank in performing its functions, and analyses its key features. The paper then illustrates a possible digital euro solution based on the integration of an account-based platform with a DLT-based one. The integration of these two components would make it possible to reap the benefits of two complementary solutions, reciprocally balancing their advantages and disadvantages, as regards, for instance, privacy. Finally, the paper presents the findings of experiments on the digital euro carried out by experts of the euro-area National Central Banks and the ECB; according to the results of those experiments, the integration of an account-based platform with a DLT-based one may provide a sound basis on which to build a fully-fledged solution, capable of meeting both regulatory and retail users' needs.