Thirty senior private-sector representatives have been selected to advise the European Central Bank (ECB) on the ‘design and distribution’ of a potential digital euro.
The 30 names, who are drawn mainly from major European banks but also include retail-sector professionals, will come together as the ‘Market Advisory Group’ (MAG) and meet at least quarterly with effect from this month (November).
Formation of the group comes as the ECB launches its ‘investigation phase’ into a potential digital euro, which is expected to run for two years.
The Eurosystem’s high-level taskforce on central bank digital currency (CBDC) called for expressions of interest in joining the MAG in July, after the ECB governing council gave its widely anticipated thumbs-up to the investigation phase. The Eurosystem comprises the ECB and the central banks of the 19 EU member states that use the euro.
A selection committee appointed the 30 business professionals ‘with proven experience and a broad understanding of the euro area retail payments market’ after assessing applications. A representative from the European Commission and representatives from Eurosystem national central banks will also participate in the group.
Prospective users’ and distributors’ views
“I am pleased that many high-quality experts from the private sector are willing to contribute to the digital euro project,” said ECB board member Fabio Panetta, who is chair of the high-level taskforce, in an announcement. “Their expertise will facilitate the integration of prospective users’ and distributors’ views on a digital euro during the investigation phase.”
MAG members will be acting in a personal capacity, advising the Eurosystem on the design and distribution of a potential digital euro from an industry perspective, and on how a digital euro could ‘add value for all players in the euro area’s diverse payments ecosystem’, according to the ECB.
Issues identified will be considered in the Eurosystem’s established forum for institutional dialogue on retail payments, the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB).
The Eurosystem also proposes to engage with the public and merchants through surveys and focus groups, and will continue to hold technical workshops with the industry.
Interested to see who’s involved? Global Government Fintech lists the members of the Market Advisory Group at the end of this article
UK CBDC forums up and running
The ECB’s announcement of the MAG members comes less than a month after the UK’s HM Treasury (HMT) and Bank of England announced the members of two groups to inform their explorations of a potential digital pound.
The UK’s CBDC Engagement Forum consists of 32 senior figures from the private sector, as well as civil society and academia. The UK’s CBDC Technology Forum is slightly smaller, comprising 26 members.
On 19 October the BoE published online the minutes of the first meeting of the Technology Forum, which met for the first time on 28 September. These reveal that the meeting, attended by a full house of all 26 Forum members, was chaired by Tom Mutton, who is director responsible for CBDC at the BoE. Mutton’s BoE colleagues Simon Scorer, Will Lovell, Rachel Greener, Katie Fortune, Ben Dovey and Zerina Joseph also participated, while HM Treasury and the National Cyber Security Centre were present as observers.
‘Members emphasised the importance of addressing interoperability of CBDC with other payment rails, as well as interoperability between payment interface providers in a CBDC system,’ according to the notes. ‘Members also indicated significant interest in discussing offline payments, privacy and programmability’.
The BoE has also published proposed topics for further CBDC Technology Forum meetings. In a speech in early September, Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub Benoît Coeuré described how central banks worldwide were “stepping up efforts to prepare the ground for digital cash”. Among major nations China is at an advanced stage of developing its CBDC, known as the e-CNY or digital yuan.
DIGITAL EURO ‘MARKET ADVISORY GROUP’
• Aleksander Kurtevski, Managing Director, Bankart
• Alessandro De Cristofaro, Director Digital Innovation Strategy, CRIF
• Antonio Macías Vecino, Head of Payments Discipline, BBVA
• Axel Schaefer, Payment Regulation and Innovation Specialist, Ingka Group (IKEA)
• Cristian Cengher, Product Owner Cross Border Payments, Erste Group Bank
• Cyril Vignet, Project Manager Innovation, Banque Populaire Caisse d’Epargne
• Diederik Bruggink, Head of Payments and Innovation, European Savings and Retail Banking Group
• Etienne Goosse, Director General, European Payments Council (EPC)
• Fanny Solano, Director Digital and Retail Regulation, Transparency and Implementation, CaixaBank
• Fernando Rodríguez Ferrer, Head of Business Development, Bizum
• Gerard Hartsink, Chairman, ICC DSI Industry Advisory Board
• Inga Mullins, Chief Executive, Fluency
• Jens Holeczek, Head of Digital Payment Unit, National Association of German Cooperative Banks
• Jochen Siegert, Managing Director, Global Head of Asset Platforms, Deutsche Bank
• Nicolas Kozakiewicz, Chief Innovation Officer, Worldline
• Nilixa Devlukia, CEO, Payments Solved
• Nils Beier, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy & Consulting
• Paul Le Manh, Advisor to CEO, EPI Interim Company
• Piet Mallekoote, Former CEO, Dutch Payments Association
• Régis Folbaum, Head of Payments, La Banque Postale
• Roberto Catanzaro, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Nexi Group
• Ruth McCarthy, Managing Director, FEXCO Corporate Payments
• Sean Mullaney, Head of Payment Engineering – EMEA Payments, Stripe
• Silvia Attanasio, Head of Innovation, Associazione Bancaria Italiana
• Sofia Lindh Possne, Senior Advisor, Group Regulatory Affairs, Swedbank
• Stefano Favale, Head of Global Transaction Banking, Intesa Sanpaolo
• Teresa Mesquita, Chief Marketing and Product Officer, SIBS Forward Payment Solutions
• Valdis Bergs, Chairman of the Board, Mobilly
• Ville Sointu, Head of Emerging Technologies, Nordea
• Yves Blavet, Open Banking Director, Société Générale
=>>> Global Government Fintech’s dedicated ‘Digital Currencies’ section <==
‘D€: unanswered questions (and quirks) amid Europe’s CBDC “nitty-gritty”’ – our analysis (20 September 2021) of eurozone central banks’ digital currency explorations to date