Ask Them Anything: Yves Mersch on Central Bank Digital Currencies

Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank Yves Mersch answers questions from the floor following his keynote address on the ECB’s research into central bank digital currencies. Answering a question about creating a CBDC for a consortium of economic partners, Mersch said “there might be several sovereign nations that are part of the European Union, but the monetary union is one sovereign, that is, Europe.” The issuance and maintenance of the euro has been fully transported to this supranational organization, he said, to serve Europe in “aggregate.” While there’s a lack of an imminent business case for a CBDC, it is being explored to stay ahead of the curve, Mersch said. Digital currencies can be designed and rolled out to the benefit of the banking system, technological entrants and the interests of the citizens at large. However, “as long as [European] citizens continue to demand cash, we will have to offer cash,” Mersch said, adding the bank will not force people to use a technological tool. “We are tech neutral and consider that technology is serving us. We are not serving technology.”