The Italian Banking Federation (ABI) has confirmed its support for the introduction of a sovereign European digital currency by launching pilot studies on a digital euro project.
According to an announcement, the association is working with its research and development branch ABI Lab and commercial banks in the country to develop an experimental digital euro.
The ABI digital euro study will reportedly focus on two main areas – technical feasibility study and programmability of central bank digital currencies to differentiate it from existing electronic payment methods.
The Italian corporate network SIA will support the consortium in the technical feasibility studies. SIA is also an employee of Project Spunta, the ABI’s blockchain-based interbank settlement layer.
While the project focuses on an experimental digital euro, there is no evidence of any involvement from the Italian central bank. Instead, other employees such as Digital Services Outfit Reply and consulting giant PwC are named as partners in the pilot study.
For ABI, the program is part of an effort to prepare Italian banks for a future that could include a digital euro. Commenting on the project’s goals, an ABI spokesperson told Cointelegraph:
“The aim of the initiative is to proactively contribute to the public debate and to help banks operating in Italy prepare for the future. It does not aim to anticipate this.” [European Central Bank] Decision on the introduction of a digital currency, but to study possible use cases and to reflect in advance the effects of their possible implementation. “
As early as December, an ECB official said the bank’s consideration phase for a digital euro could extend well into 2021. In fact, previous reports found that a regional central bank digital currency was at least five years away from being created.
In France, the central bank is already running several test protocols for its experimental digital euro. Ethereum developer ConsenSys is one of the blockchain companies that work with partner companies that are testing the digital euro on behalf of the Bank of France.