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Survey Reveals Germans Divided on Digital Euro Awareness and Usage

Jun 5, 2024 at 06:13

A recent survey by Deutsche Bundesbank revealed that most Germans are unaware of the digital euro, and among those who have heard of it, some mistakenly believe it to be a cryptocurrency.

Half of the respondents indicated they might consider using the digital euro, despite limited knowledge about it. The survey, involving 2,012 participants and published on June 4, found that 50% of Germans could “definitely” or “probably” see themselves using the European Central Bank’s pilot central bank digital currency (CBDC) as an additional payment method.

However, 25% of respondents stated they would “definitely not” use it, while another quarter said they would “probably not” use it. Only 1% were unsure.

Limited Awareness and Misconceptions

A significant 60% of respondents had never heard of the digital euro. Among those who had some awareness, about a quarter admitted to not understanding what it was. Additionally, 16% incorrectly thought it was a cryptocurrency, and nearly 30% believed it would either replace cash or lead to the abolition of cash.

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Only 17% correctly identified the digital euro as a form of central bank-issued digital money from the Eurosystem, intended to complement existing payment methods like cash.

Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel commented on the survey findings, emphasizing the need for greater public education on the digital euro.

Privacy and Infrastructure Concerns

Privacy emerged as the top concern among respondents, with over three-quarters rating it as “very important” or “important.” More than 70% highlighted the importance of the CBDC being based on European infrastructure, and over 60% stressed the need for it to be government-issued like cash and to support offline payments.

Nagel assured that Eurosystem central banks have no interest in users’ data and claimed that the digital euro would offer better privacy protection than current commercial payment solutions. The ECB also stated that the digital euro could be used offline, with transaction details known only to the payer and the payee.

Future Plans for the Digital Euro

The digital euro is currently in a preparatory phase, set to conclude in October 2025, which focuses on finalizing regulations and identifying potential issuers. Last June, the European Commission proposed a legal framework for the digital euro and measures to safeguard cash usage.

Burkhard Balz, the Bundesbank board member overseeing the digital euro project, stated that the earliest possible date for the public to start using the digital euro would be 2028.

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