The European Central Bank has selected five organizations from 54 institutions to develop prototypes for the digital euro central bank digital currency (CBDC). The companies are Amazon, CaixaBank, the European Payments Initiative (EPI), Nexi and Worldline.
Work will start this month until the end of the year, with CaixaBank developing a mobile application simulating the transfer of digital euros to a user’s bank account and person-to-person (P2P) transfers to other individuals.
Other organizations are working on user interface prototypes for offline P2P payments, point of sale (POS) transactions and e-commerce payments.
The surprise inclusion is Amazon because of its American base. A key objective of a CBDC is to reduce the reliance on international payment firms such as Visa and Mastercard. The digital euro Markets Advisory Group announced a year ago was notable in the absence of these firms.
Meanwhile, CaixaBank says it has a 32.1% market share in retailer payment turnover in Spain. It has also been involved in digital currency payment trials being conducted by Spain’s Iberpay.
So far, no definitive decision has been made about whether to issue a digital euro, but it is widely expected to happen.