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ECB does not want to introduce a digital currency

ECB President Mario Draghi and Vice-President Luis de Guindos in Frankfurt on Thursday (Photo: dpa)

ECB President Mario Draghi and Vice-President Luis de Guindos in Frankfurt on Thursday (Photo: dpa)

The European Central Bank does not intend to issue a digital currency, as the underlying technology is still fragile and the use of physical cash in the eurozone remains high, said the ECB president on Friday.

The proliferation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has triggered a global debate over whether central banks should raise their own digital money. This would give the holders a direct claim against the central bank. The banking system would be ignored, which could potentially revolutionize monetary policy.

Sweden's Riksbank is currently considering issuing an electronic version of its currency, called e-krona, to respond to the dwindling use of banknotes and an increase in electronic payments in that country.

However, ECB President Mario Draghi believes that the time has not yet come for such a change in the Eurozone. "The ECB and the Eurosystem have no plans to issue a central bank digital currency," he said in a letter to a member of the European Parliament.

Draghi added that "distributed ledgers" technologies require substantial development, and that he does not see a "real need" to spend a digital euro.

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