Among 54 candidates, the European Central Bank chose Amazon and other small businesses to help develop its CBDC prototype, the “Digital Euro.”
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced the five companies chosen to help develop user interfaces for the digital euro on September 16, including e-commerce giant Amazon, Italian bank Nexi, and Spanish bank CaixaBank.
According to the ECB, the companies will collaborate in different areas of the CBDC development project, testing the integration of the digital euro in various use cases.
Evey company will concentrate on a specific use case. Amazon will test e-commerce payment systems, CaixaBank and Worldline will prototype P2P payments, and EPI and Nexi will work on retail point-of-sale payments.
The European Central Bank is the only entity in charge of developing the code and infrastructure for the CBDC, despite the fact that these private businesses are working on various use cases and integrations for the Digital Euro.
The ECB asserts that the companies’ prototypes won’t be used in the project’s later stages and that they will only be used to test the digital euro’s functionality.
According to the ECB, its CBDC project is nearing completion and will be completed by the first quarter of 2023, as promised in earlier statements.
Nexi Group’s Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer and member of the Digital Euro Market Advisory Group, Roberto Catanzaro, stated in a company statement that Nexi Group is proud that its payments platform contributes to the development of the digital euro.
As reported by local Spanish news outlet “El Economista,” the ECB is concerned that the introduction of the digital euro will result in “deposit leakage in commercial banks,” which is why they are collaborating with several leading payment providers to assess the risks and opportunities associated with the CBDC’s introduction for both individuals and businesses.
It is worth noting that the ECB’s concerns coincide with the severe economic downturn that Spain’s Banco Popular experienced in 2017. Several companies and public entities withdrew their funds in less than two months during this event, causing over 300,000 minor shareholders to lose all of their money.
Furthermore, ECB officials recently stated at a European Economic and Social Committee event that the digital euro will be aimed at retail trade, limiting its use to specific types of individuals and preventing companies from using it to settle invoices or carry out transactions on decentralised platforms.