With cash use still popular in Europe, and the technology behind digital money remaining fragile, the European Central Bank (ECB) doesn’t intend to create a digital currency. Even so, the spread of cryptocurrencies have brought the idea of central banks issuing digital money to light, Reuters reported.
“The ECB and the Eurosystem currently have no plans to issue a central bank digital currency,” President Mario Draghi wrote in a letter. He also said that new technologies, distributed ledgers among them, need “substantial further development.” At the same time, he doesn’t see a “concrete need” for a digital euro.
At the same time, however, the central bank of Sweden is mulling over a digital currency. Sveriges Riksbank is thinking of issuing a so-called “e-krona,” as the country is experiencing an increase in electronic payments, along with a decrease in the use of banknotes.
Even with the growing availability of and interest in digital and contactless payments, cash continues to be the ultimate showstopper when it comes to consumer preference in Europe, according to the Western and Eastern Europe edition of the PYMNTS Global Cash Index. Nearly 75 percent of point-of-sale transactions in the EU today are paid using cash, according to a recent study by the ECB, which surveyed more than 65,000 consumers in 17 countries.
While there is an overall increase in circulation of cash, each of the member states in the EU have a varying affinity for it. And, while cash may be losing some of its share in certain markets, Director Ron Delnevo of the ATM Industry Association said overall use of cash in Europe is continuing to increase at a healthy rate and will likely be in the driver’s seat for years to come. To that end, the U.K.’s overall use of cash hit £70 billion in 2016, marking the fastest growth in a decade.