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ECB must prepare to issue a digital euro, Panetta says

Reuters reports that ECB board member Fabio Panetta said that the European Central Bank must prepare to issue a digital euro to complement banknotes "if and when" it becomes necessary.

Major central banks are studying the creation of officially sanctioned digital currencies to address demand for electronic means of payment and fend off competition from Bitcoin and other crypto tokens.

In a study published on Friday, the ECB said a digital euro could help in scenarios where citizens abandoned cash, foreign forms of electronic money took over, or other means of payments became unavailable.

"We should be ready to issue a digital euro if and when developments around us make it necessary," Panetta said in a blog post accompanying the study. "This means that we already need to be preparing for it."

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