The Italian Banking Association (ABI) is testing the digital euro. The European Central Bank itself has not yet made a decision on the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Italy is starting CBDC experiments
The Italian Banking Association reaffirmed its support for the launch of a sovereign European digital currency by launching a pilot study on the digitized euro project. As announced, the association is working with its R&D office, ABI Lab, and commercial banks in the country to develop an experimental digital euro.
The ABI study on the digital euro will reportedly focus on two main areas – the technical feasibility study and the programming of the digital currency by the central bank to “Distinguish between existing electronic payment methods”.
The Italian company SIA will support a special consortium in the field of technical feasibility studies. SIA also cooperates with Project Spunt, which builds interbank ABI settlements based on blockchain.
While the project focuses on an experimental digital euro, there is no indication that the Italian central bank is involved. Instead, other contributors such as Reply and consulting giant PwC were selected as partners in the pilot study.
For ABI, the program is part of an effort to prepare Italian banks for a future that could include digital euros. Commenting on the project’s goals and objectives, an ABI spokesman told Cointelegraph:
“The aim of this initiative is to actively participate in the public debate and to help banks operating in Italy prepare them for what lies ahead. Its purpose is not to pre-empt the decision [Europejskiego Banku Centralnego] on the adoption of the digital currency, but rather to study possible use cases and think beforehand about the consequences of a possible implementation ”.
The ECB and the digital euro
In December, the ECB said that it would decide whether to work on the e-euro in early 2021. Previous reports by authorities indicated that there were at least five years until the creation of the central bank’s digital currency.
In France, the central bank already runs several test protocols for its experimental digital euro. Ethereum developer ConsenSys is one of the blockchain companies working with partner companies testing digital euro on behalf of the Bank of France.