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Europe includes cryptocurrencies in new framework for digital payments

The European Union has released a new framework for digital payments that also includes cryptocurrencies. 

Cryptocurrencies in the digital payments framework

It was actually released by the Eurosystem, a body composed of the European Central Bank and the central banks of the countries that have adopted the euro.

The “PISA framework” (PISA is an acronym for Payment Instruments, Schemes and Arrangements) is a 15-page document approved on 15 November 2021 that covers the area of electronic payments, and will apply from 15 November 2022

In the text, in the part relating to the definition of electronic payments, “digital payment tokens” are also mentioned. 

The aim of the document is to create a more secure and efficient digital payments ecosystem. 

It states that one of the priorities is to mitigate risks and maintain confidence in electronic payment systems. Oversight of the system is of course entrusted to the European Central Bank. 

The new framework will apply to companies that enable digital payments, including credit card companies and crypto service providers, including wallets. Services that allow the acceptance of cryptocurrencies by shops or any other system that enables cryptocurrency payments via an e-wallet will also be subject to scrutiny.

Moving towards European regulation of stablecoins and cryptocurrencies

Another interesting aspect is that the official press release actually anticipates the arrival of a regulation on cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. It reads verbatim: 

“The PISA framework complements forthcoming EU regulations on crypto-assets (including stablecoins) and international standards for global stablecoins. The Eurosystem also aims to cooperate with other authorities”.

Fabio Panetta, member of the ECB’s Executive Board, explained in this regard: 

“The retail payments ecosystem is evolving fast owing to innovation and technological change. This calls for a forward-looking approach in overseeing digital payment solutions. The PISA framework will include digital payment tokens such as stablecoins, alongside traditional payment instruments and schemes we have gained experience in over the years. Internationally coordinated action will also have to be stepped up to cope with the challenges posed by global digital payment solutions and stablecoins”.

Europe Cryptocurrencies

Crypto regulation and the digital euro

This development was in the air. The President of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, has been commenting on cryptocurrencies and stablecoins for some time, in rather critical terms. She even went so far as to call stablecoins a threat.

However, it is becoming clear that Europe wants to be ready to embrace a technological change that cannot do without cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. 

It has never been mentioned, but the digital euro could soon be part of this. The European Union is studying the issue of a digital version of its currency, and could decide within two years. If and when the digital euro arrives, it will find a regulatory framework waiting for it that could place it right next to cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. 

Eleonora Spagnolo
Eleonora Spagnolo
Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.