According to the Routers agency, the ECB calls on banks to match the functionality of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies, which can be used for instant electronic payments, have gained prominence in the financial debate and some central banks, such as Sweden, are even considering introducing their own version of them.
“Banks should accelerate the introduction of instant payments, through which money is received immediately and throughout the day, to counter the appeal of digital currencies such as Bitcoin,” a director of the European Central Bank said on Thursday.
Yves Mersch, a member of the ECB’s executive board, disdained these digital files but urged commercial banks to offer an alternative.
“Banks should implement instant payments as soon as possible and provide an alternative narrative to the ongoing public debate about the supposed innovation brought by virtual currency schemes,” he said at an event in Rome.
While their adoption by retailers remains low, private digital currencies are a source of concern for central bankers because they threaten their control of the banking system and the supply of money, which could undermine the monetary policies they use to manage inflation.
That is why some central banks such as the Riksbank of Sweden and the Bank of England are considering the merits of introducing their own digital currency.
Mersch said the ECB would “experiment with cash in different digital technologies,” but saw no chance for “adventurous applications” of that technology.
“We will also experiment with cash in different digital technologies,” said Mersch. “Other adventurous applications of a more disruptive nature are simply not robust enough.”
His comments were shared by the board member of the Bundesbank, Carl-Ludwig Thiele, who said in Berlin that a digital currency such as Sweden’s eKrona proposal could not be introduced in Germany, where cash payments are still frequent.
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