The Digital Programmable Euro, Libra and CBDC: Implications for European Banks
33 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 29, 2020
Existing payment systems get more and more disrupted. As a consequence of the global trend of digitizing payments and generating new business models from the use of blockchain-based digital programmable money, several new payment initiatives have been announced recently. Besides “classical” crypto assets, also stablecoins become increasingly important. The announcement of the Facebook-initiated Libra stablecoin is mainly perceived as a game-changer for the financial sector. Today, also central banks discuss the introduction of their own digital currencies, so-called CBDCs. To date, these payment innovations are not sufficiently discussed and analyzed from the perspective of different sectors and industries, as its implications remain unclear since most initiatives have not yet been introduced. At this point, the literature does not sufficiently discuss the implications of these innovations on the financial sector. This paper sheds light on the perception of these payment initiatives by interviewing more than 50 senior experts. In this study, we analyze the impact of digital programmable Euro initiatives, such as the Libra stablecoin, and CBDCs, on banks. We find that both Libra and a Euro CBDC might heavily affect European banks. Experts fear that large-scale financial disintermediation of the financial sector could take place, and digital bank runs could be triggered. Besides these risks, our findings suggest that banks also have the opportunity to develop new business models stemming from these initiatives. Therefore, Libra and a CBDC Euro should not only be seen as threats but also as opportunities.
Keywords: Central bank digital currencies, Libra, banks, digital programmable Euro
JEL Classification: E42, E52, G21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation