Christine Lagarde: Payments in a digital world

Speech by Ms Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, at the Deutsche Bundesbank online conference on banking and payments in the digital world, Frankfurt am Main, 10 September 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
11 September 2020

I'm honoured to be speaking this evening at the Deutsche Bundesbank's conference on banking and payments in the digital world.

A little over a century ago, George Bernard Shaw said that "Money is the counter that enables life to be lived socially; it is life as truly as sovereigns and banknotes are money".

So money facilitates transactions and relationships and is an expression of sovereignty. This is just as relevant in today's fast-moving world.

In the digital age, innovation in payments enables us to interact in easier, faster and cheaper ways. But this innovation also comes in new forms - based on private payment systems or using digital currencies - which create new risks and pose important questions of sovereignty.

These issues go to the very heart of the ECB's mandate. They raise new questions about whether the ECB should drive initiatives to integrate retail payments in Europe, and even whether it should issue a digital euro.