The European Central Bank has officially launched its digital euro programme, stressing that CBDCS will not replace cash

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced on July 14 the official launch of the Digital Euro project, following an invitation to the public to submit their views on the launch of the digital euro last November. Even so, the ECB stressed in its statement that it did not necessarily mean a digital euro would be issued, but that a decision would be made after a 24-month exploratory period to examine the design, distribution and feasibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). To that end, the ECB said it would consult with stakeholders such as banks and retailers. The ECB said the digital euro would not replace cash, but complement existing fiat currencies, so it must be able to meet the needs of The European population while helping to prevent illicit activities and avoiding any adverse impact on financial stability and monetary policy. "Moving into the digital age, our mission is to ensure that the public and businesses continue to have access to the safest form of money, which is central bank money," European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said. Lagarde previously said the digital euro would not happen overnight and would still take two to four years to develop because it would cover not only the basic technology but also controls to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Fabio Panetta, a member of the Executive board of the European Central Bank (

), said experiments conducted so far showed that the digital euro was environmentally friendly. Compared to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the digital euro is almost negligible, he said. In January, the European Commission and the European Central Bank worked together to assess potential problems with the digital euro. According to the RESULTS of the ECB's public consultation, 41 percent of 8,000 respondents were primarily concerned about privacy in the digital euro.

"CoinDesk" research director Noelle Acheson believes that the ECB's announcement to investigate public opinion on the digital euro represents that the central bank is considering issuing a central bank digital currency aimed at retail, the general public, rather than just the central bank currency used between banks. He believes that, "This is likely to have a more profound impact on the way finance works.