Any Future Digital Currency Will Be Public-Private Partnership, ECB’s Villeroy Says

21 March 2023

By Xavier D’Arcy – BASEL, Switzerland (Econostream) – Any future digital currency will have to be a public-private partnership, European Central Bank Governing Council member François Villeroy de Galhau said on Tuesday.

Speaking on a panel at the Bank for International Settlements’ Innovation Summit, he said that the Banque de France, which he heads, would likely launch a pilot for a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) by the end of 2023.

‘I would say to commercial banks today: do not be afraid of this public-private partnership. We will be in CBDC together’, he said. Central banks, he argued, ‘are part of innovation without any doubt… that said, if you look for centuries, money has been a public-private partnership.’

Alongside working with the ECB to develop a digital euro available for citizens – a retail CBDC – the Banque de France ‘are also making our own reflections on wholesale CBDC, we will probably decide by the end of this year about pilots in that field’, he said.

‘One delicate question will be the access to central bank money in this new form’, he said. ‘At present the border is quite clear: banks have access to central bank money, non-banks do not… should we change the border? My answer at this stage would be cautious’, he said.

If non-banks were to have access to central bank money, ‘then we will have to regulate non-banks and to supervise them, we are not yet there’, he said.