Fabio Panetta: "Hic sunt leones" – open research questions on the international dimension of central bank digital currencies

Speech by Mr Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, at the ECB- Central Bank Research Association (CEBRA) conference on international aspects of digital currencies and fintech, Frankfurt am Main, 19 October 2021.

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

Central bank speech  | 
18 November 2021

It is a pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the European Central Bank (ECB) to the fifth annual meeting of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program of the Central Bank Research Association (CEBRA). This year's meeting is taking place virtually. And it brings together participants from nearly 20 time zones, which is fitting for a conference that seeks to shed light on how digitalisation is changing money and finance globally.

In my remarks today, I will focus on the international dimension of central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs. The ECB launched an investigation phase for the digital euro over the summer. One of the aspects we are investigating is whether it would be possible to use the digital euro in cross-border contexts, and under which conditions. Many other central banks are reflecting on whether they would allow non-residents to access their own digital currency if they were to decide to introduce one.

Decisions about the issuance and design of CBDCs require a careful assessment of the trade-offs between risks and opportunities. The international dimension makes that assessment more challenging still. So, it is already worth thinking about the implications of the cross-border use of CBDCs.