The new governor of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, noted that there is demand for stablecoins in the markets.
She expressed this publicly during her speech at the press conference at which she presented the European Central Bank’s recent monetary policy decisions.
Lagarde’s words on stablecoins are not closely related to the monetary policy decisions presented at the press conference but were pronounced in response to a question from a journalist.
“My personal convinction is that given the developments we are seeing, not so much in the bitcoin segment, but in the stablecoins projects, we’d better be ahead of the curve, if that happens, because there is clearly a demand out there that we have to respond to”.
It is not clear whether she also referred to the regulation of monetary markets, in particular with regard to the Libra project, or whether she only referred to the possibility of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Nonetheless, these words, together with the meeting held a few days ago to discuss the possibility of the ECB issuing a CBDC, suggest that the central bank is already at work on a stablecoin.
After all, in the past, when Lagarde was the director of the International Monetary Fund, she had already explicitly suggested that central banks should equip themselves with digital currencies, which means that overall she seems not only favourable but even proactive in proposing this kind of development.
Although the ECB has not yet taken a decision on the matter, it seems that it will at least identify the possible objectives of a similar project by mid-2020. Lagarde herself has revealed that the areas being considered are those related to the possible reduction of transaction costs, the elimination of the need to go through intermediaries, and the pursuit of “inclusive finance at no cost”.
The picture that emerges seems to suggest that the ECB is actually already working on this hypothesis, albeit probably only at the level of study and analysis of potential risks and benefits, and that within a few months it could reach its decision in this regard, in other words, whether to proceed with the technical implementation of its CDBC or abandon the idea.