The Digital Euro - Advantages and Risks of a Central Bank Digital Currency / Der digitale Euro - Chancen und Risiken einer digitalen Notenbankwährung


Central banks including the ECB have moved forward with plans concerning a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to be made available to the public at large. In particular, the announcement of a private stable coin by a consortium led by Facebook/Meta had served as a catalyst. Perhaps the fear of losing market share in terms of seigniorage or impairment of monetary policy played a role. By now, however, a widely-expressed criticism is that the CBDC constitutes a solution that is still in search of a problem to be solved. The argument put forth by the ECB that a CBDC is needed as a monetary anchor in the digital sphere carries little weight after closer inspection. Furthermore, potential advantages of a CBDC are partly reduced or precluded because of constraints imposed in order to minimise potential risks for the stability of the banking system and the business model of banks. For example, the model pursued by the ECB refrains from positive or negative interest rates paid on CBDC, imposes limits on transaction amounts and precludes a store of value function. At this point, the main potential benefit appears to be a possible reduction of transaction costs in digital payments and a possible contribution to keeping platform-based markets in digital ecosystems contestable. It remains an open question whether this is a task for central banks.

Alexander Meyer-Gohde
Alexander Meyer-Gohde
Professor of Financial Markets and Macroeconomics

My research interests include macroeconomics, macro-finance, econometrics, and numerical methods