Francois Villeluis de Gallo, president of the Bank of France, has announced that France will begin experimenting with a central bank digital currency for financial institutions from next year,media said. “By the end of the first quarter of 2020, we intend to start testing quickly and release project information (for the private sector),” said the French central bank governor. The initiative aims to strengthen the efficiency and productivity of the financial system, while also boosting public confidence in digital currencies, the French newspaper Les Echos reported on December 4. “In the face of a private digital currency of Libra type, it helps us have powerful tools to assert our sovereignty,” De Gallo said. “
“In issuing at least one central bank digital currency for payments between financial institutions, I think the benefits of a rapid advance are clear: to make us the first issuer at the international level and reap the benefits from it,” Mr de Gallo said at a conference. “
The report said that the “retail” central bank digital currency for individuals would be a “particularly vigilant target”, mainly due to factors such as legal status, conditions of ownership, anonymity and the possibility of non-resident access. “Similar to the threshold that France has set for electronic or cash payments, the threshold for anonymous transactions may need to be set in line with this goal,” De Gallo said. “
The French central bank’s payment supervision and market infrastructure agency will reportedly be renamed the Infrastructure, Innovation and Payments Agency. The new body will be responsible for all central bank innovations in digital currencies, payments and infrastructure. Recruitment of personnel will also begin.
In fact, in Europe, it is not just France that is pushing digital currencies. A confidential EUROPEAN Central Bank document said the ECB would need to support a digital currency if payments within Europe remained too high, Reuters reported on December 4th, adding that signs of reduced cash use would accelerate the adoption of digital currencies.
Plans for a public offering of cryptocurrencies in Europe are reportedto after social media giant Facebook announced its blueprint for digital currency Libra coins in June. Facebook’s plan to issue digital currency has alarmed regulators who have raised concerns that Facebook’s projects could be banned.
Facebook’s move highlights the EU’s fragmented payment landscape. In EU member states, U.S. credit card companies dominate credit card payments, and there is no common system to reduce the cost of fast transactions.
“If the industry fails to develop innovative and effective pan-European payment solutions, then the issuance of a central bank digital currency could meet the needs of society,” the document, seen by Reuters, said. “
According to a draft document seen by Reuters, EU finance ministers discussed the document on the 5th and are expected to adopt a joint statement welcoming the ECB’s work on the possibility of issuing digital currencies.
Tips, a euro zone real-time payment program backed by the European Central Bank, was launched last year, but so far EUROPEAN banks have been cautious, the report said. Open cryptocurrencies will replace Libra and other private projects and may reduce international transaction costs. The ECB thinks international transactions are too expensive at the moment.