ECB taps Amazon, four others to pitch digital euro prototype

ECB taps Amazon, four others to pitch digital euro prototype
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(Sept 17): US tech giant Amazon is among the five companies the European Central Bank (ECB) has chosen to develop a prototype for a digital euro.

Spain’s CaixaBank, France’s Worldline SA, Italy’s Nexi SpA and EPI, a consortium of banks and third-party acquirers, join Amazon in winning a bid to develop prototypes, with each company focusing on a specific digital use for the euro-area currency. The five were chosen from a pool of 54 front-end providers who submitted applications in April, the ECB said in a statement.

“The aim of this prototyping exercise is to test how well the technology behind a digital euro integrates with prototypes developed by companies,” the Frankfurt-based institution said.

The ECB is likely to be among the first advanced-economy central banks to issue a digital form of its currency, with officials pointing to the middle of this decade for a possible roll-out. It’s currently in the two-year “investigation phase” of the digital euro project, and has taken no formal decision on whether to launch a digital euro.