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The ECB, unlike private firms, has “no commercial interest” in monetizing user data, according to an ECB executive board member.
Fabio Panetta, an executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), has claimed that a digital euro provides better privacy safeguards than privately produced stablecoins.
Panetta attacked private businesses’ economic motives, highlighting that it is in their commercial interests to collect massive amounts of data on its consumers.
“We are not like private companies,” the board member told Financial Times. “We have no commercial interest in storing, managing, or monetizing the data of users.”
The ECB source also revealed that the European Central Bank had conducted pilots testing “offline payments for small amounts, in which no data is recorded outside the payer and payee wallets.”
“If the central bank gets involved in digital payments, privacy is going to be better protected […] The payment will go through, but nobody in the payment chain would have access to all the information.”
Panetta’s comments appear intended to placate popular concerns regarding how data will be collected and handled when using central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDC), with the ECB’s most recent public consultation on CBDC revealing the privacy of payments to be the highest-ranking concern among more than 8,000 respondents.
The public consultation lasted from October 2020 to January 2021, and it revealed that security and pan-European reach were major points of dispute when it came to a digital euro.
After the findings from the consultation were published in January, Panetta penned a letter to the chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) emphasizing “the protection of privacy” as a “key priority” moving forward “so that the digital euro can help maintain trust in payments in the digital age.”