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HomeLaw & PoliticsEuropean Central Bank Releases First CBDC Progress Update

European Central Bank Releases First CBDC Progress Update

The European Central Bank (ECB) is actively developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), focusing on privacy and offline transaction capabilities. The ECB released its first progress report on its CBDC development on June 24, outlining key features like pseudonymization, hashing functions, encryption, and consent-based data usage. The report also discussed enabling offline transactions directly between parties.

The report was published on June 24, 2024, with a timeline set for the Rulebook Development Group to finalize the first draft of the technical and regulatory CBDC framework by the end of 2024.

This initiative is being developed in the Eurozone, under the auspices of the European Central Bank, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. The ECB’s proposed CBDC aims to incorporate advanced cryptographic techniques to ensure user privacy and provide a mechanism for offline transactions using smartphones and potential new technologies like “smart cards.” Payment service providers would be required to obtain explicit consent from consumers before using their financial data for commercial purposes.

Amid growing global interest in digital currencies, the ECB’s approach reflects a cautious yet innovative stance towards integrating digital currency within traditional financial systems. The focus on privacy and user consent contrasts sharply with concerns about potential overreach by state actors, which has been a hot topic in the crypto community and broader discussions about digital currency governance.

The ECB’s efforts to introduce a CBDC come amidst significant debate over the benefits and risks associated with state-controlled digital currencies. Privacy concerns and the potential for governmental overreach have sparked opposition, notably in the U.S., where there is significant political and public resistance to the idea of a federal CBDC. The development of the ECB’s CBDC could set a precedent for how advanced economies approach the integration of digital currencies into their financial systems while addressing critical issues of privacy and state control.

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