Will the EU Adopt a Digital Currency?
Cryptocurrency is growing across the world, with more and more countries starting to embrace it. Click here to find out if the EU will adopt a digital currency.
It is fair to say that the introduction of cryptocurrency has been met with mixed reactions from governing bodies across the world, including the EU. For hundreds of years, traditional banking has been achieved through centralised banks and tangible assets, which allow stability and safety with transactions.
Cryptocurrency, however, is the polar opposite of this. Run through decentralised systems, there are no banks or middlemen, and it offers wealth that is beyond restriction or tangibility. In short, it is a swing in the direction of entirely digitalised, decentralised finance, which is a concerning concept for governments built on tradition and regulation.
It isn’t just investors in the coin who are aware of its wide-spanning impact and potential. Countries like the Central African Republic and El Salvador are beginning to pave the way towards a full crypto integration into their financial landscape, and it won’t be long before other countries begin to follow suit.
With the biggest players like Bitcoin and Ethereum growing in value without regulation, it is also clear that governments like the EU are attempting to get in on the action on their terms. This is where the new digital euro comes into play.
What Is The Digital Euro?
A lot of people are now aware that the money existing in their bank accounts is not theirs but rather the legal property of a centralised bank. This means that physical money is the only way to own monetary property and not be attached to debt from the bank to the individual. In the new digitalised age we live in, however, owning and trading physical cash is far less feasible than owning a digital currency.
This is why the rise of cryptocurrency has been so integral for the future. Although often volatile, cryptocurrencies can give people a way to make transactions digitally, anonymously, and without the need for any centralised body to own the assets before owing them to you.
Having realised this, the EU has attempted to counteract crypto’s surge and aim for a compromise. This has resulted in the digital euro being introduced into the Eurozone. With this system, people will be able to store money free of charge and non-debt based at a central bank, which they will then be able to make payments and transactions in a purely digital format. According to the ECB, this would lead to the removal of ‘the banking system’s privileged access to central bank money,’ which would subsequently ‘reduce the concentration of economic power and force the banking system to be more ethically responsible and competitive.’
If this reasoning sounds a bit familiar, it is because it is the same reasoning used to get investors on board with crypto. However, the ECB has explicitly referred to this digital coin as being different from cryptocurrency due to its non-volatile nature and dependence on public institutions that are backing them.
So Is The Digital Euro Better Than A Crypto Coin?
The digital euro is essentially a centralised answer to the regulation problem the EU are attempting to deal with. Importantly, it is currently in the research phase where it directly compliments cash rather than entirely overtakes it, and it doesn’t quite solve the problem of middlemen being implicitly involved in the distribution of coins. In this way, it is unlikely that investors in cryptocurrency will see this as anything more than an immediate attempt to appease the digital market, whilst not actually contributing anything of its own merit.
That being said, at least governing bodies like the EU recognise the turn of the tide and are attempting to provide feasible options to consumers. After all, while some are taken in by cryptocurrency's risk vs reward nature, not everyone is as keen on this digital revolution, especially when markets are volatile enough to rise one minute and drop the next. Some consumers will want to remain with centralised banks due to the reassurance given to them.
In this way, if it is a question of the survival of either centralised or decentralised financial systems, then it is down to the consumers themselves to choose which is safer and more efficient. In the future, it is unlikely that one will exist without the other. It is more likely that both centralisation and de-centralisation co-exist together. After all, the more alternatives there are, the better it will be for consumers and investors.
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