A European Commission receives 11,000 public comments on its CBDC project

In less than two weeks since the European Commission opened its Digital Euro for the EU initiative to public consultation, more than 11,000 people and organizations have left their comments on the site. The comments section will be open until June 14.

In addition to the open comments section on the website, there is a specific consultation questionnaire which aims to gather information from industry representatives, authorities and experts regarding aspects of the future digital euro such as privacy and data protection, anti-money laundering (AML) and Anti-Terrorist Financing (CFT) regulations, the impact on financial stability, and user needs and expectations.

The consultation process predates the legislative review of the digital euro, which is expected to take place in 2023.

What he pointed cryptocurrency lawyer Patrick Hansen, during last year’s round of consultations on the digital euro, the majority of respondents were in favor of making payments a private matter. Despite this, the European Commission’s Economics Commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni, said that “a totally anonymous digital euro is not desirable”.

A review of a sample of the content in the public comment section revealed some dissatisfaction with the project in general. For example, as an anonymous German comment put it:

“NO! Digital payment methods already exist! So what is a CBDC good for? […] yet more surveillance, prevention of bank runs, drug addiction and the resulting enslavement of humanity? It does not prevent money laundering; this already exists on a large scale for the first 10,000 in many tax havens, for example, [las] Cayman Islands, Macao, Dubai, etc.

Another German-speaking commentator, Michael Hagmüller, also highlights the fear of excessive government power that could be made possible by the adoption of a single digital currency:

“I am against a digital euro for the EU. I fear that fundamental freedoms are also under threat here and that authoritarian governments [tendrían] then full control. The example of the Maastricht criteria shows that previous governments do not play by the rules and with a digital euro the state could do what it wants with its citizens and suppress any opposition”.

In particular, it is the German language that dominates the public comment section, and negative sentiment towards the digital euro seems to prevail in these posts. It took 21 pages to find the first notice in another language, Dutch. Who also attacked the initiative, although more moderately. Marcel Diepstra was of the opinion that the EU should focus on proper regulation for cryptocurrencies, not its own CBDC:

“Over the past 13 years, we have seen that crypto-backed digital currencies can be secure and trusted while being fully decentralized. When properly configured, the currency can no longer be changed without the consent of the majority of stakeholders.”

There is also notable concern about the possibility of further consolidation of power in the hands of the EU’s largest economies, expressed in comments from citizens of smaller member states. On the one hand, Milan Golier from Slovakia called for preserving the sovereignty of the members of the Union:

“Neither I nor my whole family agrees. I think the EU is going too far, the economic aid pool between sovereign states is slowly becoming a dictatorial system run by two big players, we certainly didn’t want that.”

Others expressed dissatisfaction with the general process of money virtualization, which is supposed to get a big boost if a pan-European digital currency is created. Marie Rommelaere from Belgium wrote:

“For me, this digital euro is an aberration, which confirms the money-debt in which we are unfortunately mired. Neither euro nor any digital currency. Let’s find money backed by tangible reserves, like gold for example”.

But optimism about the volume of comments should be taken with a grain of salt, as the vast majority of comments come in the form of brief, anonymous comments, which generally take a negative stance towards the initiative. These are not necessarily an accurate representation of what the majority of EU citizens think.

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