CRYPTOCURRENCY: This initiative by the French central bank, for a “digital euro”, is a first in the eurozone
An “e-euro” to counter Facebook’s Libra. This is the ambition of the Banque de France, which will launch experiments next year to develop a “central bank digital currency” (MDBC). It will be dedicated to “wholesale” transactions, that is to say very high amounts, its governor François Villeroy de Galhau announced on Wednesday.
The institution wants to start experiments “quickly” and launch a call for projects by the end of the first quarter of 2020, he said at a conference in Paris.
[Conférence #ACPR] François Villeroy de Galhau, Gouverneur de la Banque de France & président de l’@ACPR_actu ouvre la conférence “Faciliter l’innovation : quelles mises en œuvre ?”
Suivez notre live 📽️ https://t.co/Ku7f5mvZtc pic.twitter.com/o1dhKLcr8t
— Banque de France (@banquedefrance) December 4, 2019
“A powerful lever for affirming our sovereignty”
This initiative by the French central bank will be a first in the eurozone. Its goal will be to eventually develop a “digital euro”, the Banque de France told AFP. Concretely, it would be a euro in digital form whose issuance mechanisms could be based on technologies such as blockchain .
The French experiment will participate “in the study of a possible” e-euro “” carried by the Eurosystem, a subject already raised Monday before the European Parliament by the new president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde . A central bank digital currency at European level would provide “a powerful lever for asserting our sovereignty in the face of private initiatives of the Libra type”, estimates François Villeroy de Galhau.
The cryptocurrency race
Last June, Facebook drew the wrath of many governments around the world by announcing that it wanted to launch its own cryptocurrency in 2020 , backed by a basket of currencies. Since then, the social network giant has had to revise its ambitions downwards in the face of the reluctance of the authorities and regulators, especially American, and the defections of partner companies to support it in this project.
In addition to Facebook, the US bank JPMorgan, the first in the world, also announced in February the upcoming launch of JPM Coin, backed by the dollar and reserved for institutional investors.
According to the French central banker, a European virtual currency would make it possible to achieve “efficiency gains”, to reduce “intermediation costs” but also to give the possibility of “exchanging one’s assets for legal tender”