ECB presentation shows that no data protection options are available to proposed digital euro designs

In addition to fears of government overreach aroused by the European Union’s ambitious digital euro project, The main concern of the public is the privacy framework of the future coin. This concern does not seem exaggerated, as the most recent presentation by the European Central Bank (ECB) indicates that user anonymity is not a desirable design option.

On Tuesday, Patrick Hansen, Cryptocurrency Business Advisor and Whistleblower on European Regulation of Digital Assets, caught the attention of the public to the ECB presentation “Digital Euro Privacy Options”. The document is relatively short and contains nine slides outlining the possible options for user privacy in the EU Central Bank’s digital currency (CBDC), also known as the digital euro.

Acknowledging public concerns about CBDC privacy, the presentation emphasizes the need to assess the issue β€œin the context of other EU policy objectives, notably anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT)”.

ECB presentation shows that no data protection options are available to proposed digital euro designs
ECB presentation shows that no data protection options are available to proposed digital euro designs

In practice, this bureaucratic vocabulary means that the basic data protection scenario for the digital euro project is that all transaction data is transparent to intermediaries such as banks.. However, the option to provide a higher level of privacy for low-value transactions remains on the table and “might be explored with co-legislators”.

Nevertheless, The general mood of the document can be summed up in a simple quote from slide four, which reads: “User anonymity is not a desirable trait.” At this point, Hansen concludes, it’s not clear how exactly the digital euro differs from the current fiat-based one infrastructure for digital payments would differ.

The public comments section on the digital euro contains more than 13,000 replies at press time, most of them critical of the CBDC project. Meanwhile, the ECB and the Eurosystem launched an experimental prototype of the digital euro customer interface at the end of April.

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