The E-Banknote as a 'Banknote': A Monetary Law Interpreted

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming

Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper, Forthcoming

44 Pages Posted: 5 May 2021 Last revised: 28 Jun 2021

See all articles by Benjamin Geva

Benjamin Geva

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Seraina N. Grunewald

Radboud University Nijmegen

Corinne Zellweger-Gutknecht

University of Zurich; University of Basel

Date Written: May 3, 2021


The article discusses whether an electronic banknote is a ‘banknote’. The issue is dealt with as a matter of general statutory interpretation in the context of evolving technologies and institutional arrangements. The article proposes a clear terminology to address concepts underlying digital currencies and access to central bank money and argues that a banknote may be ‘written’ electronically. The article is critical of both account-based Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and cryptocurrencies and highlights features of nonblockchain token-based alternatives. It sheds light on considerations affecting the selection of a design which is appropriate from both a functional and legal perspective and addresses architectural models for the issuance of e-banknotes.

Keywords: banknote, e-banknote, digital currency, CBDC, cryptocurrency, central bank, ECB, legal tender, monetary law

JEL Classification: E40, E42, E51, E52, E58, G21, G28, H41, H44, K00, K23, O33, O52

Suggested Citation

Geva, Benjamin and Grunewald, Seraina and Zellweger-Gutknecht, Corinne, The E-Banknote as a 'Banknote': A Monetary Law Interpreted (May 3, 2021). Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming, Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Benjamin Geva (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
416 736 5045 (Phone)
416 736 5736 (Fax)


Seraina Grunewald

Radboud University Nijmegen ( email )

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK

HOME PAGE: http://

Corinne Zellweger-Gutknecht

University of Zurich

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

University of Basel ( email )

Peter-Merian-Weg 8
Basel, CH-4003

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