The European Central Bank (ECB) is treating the matter of a digital euro with priority and will move as rapidly as possible, but the most important thing is protecting people's data, Fabio Panetta, a member of the bank’s executive board, said Wednesday.
"The record level of participation in our public consultation and the willingness of citizens and professionals to support a digital euro are encouraging," Panetta, who is also responsible for the bank's digital currency policies, said in a statement.
He stressed that in the coming months, the bank's governing council will decide whether to start a formal investigation phase on a digital euro.
He said the analysis may take around two years.
"At the end of the investigation, the Governing Council would take a decision on the design and on whether to move to the implementation of user requirements,” he noted.
"This phase, which would take several years, would see the development of integrated services, testing and possible live experimentation of a digital euro."
Panetta underlined that the council will able to make a decision on launching a digital euro after all these phases.
He also said the most important feature of a digital euro is privacy.
"Protecting users’ personal data and ensuring a high level of confidentiality will therefore be a priority in our work."
The bank also released a report on a digital euro which was prefaced by Panetta and Christine Legarde, the head of the bank./aa