The European Central Bank (ECB) will collaborate with five companies to develop potential user interfaces for the digital euro to test how well the technology behind a digital euro integrates with prototypes developed by companies.
Simulated transactions will be initiated using the front-end prototypes developed by the five companies and processed through the Eurosystem’s interface and back-end infrastructure.
The selected companies, chosen from a pool of 54 front end providers, will each focus on one specific use case of a digital euro in collaboration with the ECB team:
- Peer-to-peer online payments with Spanish financial services company CaixaBank;
- Peer-to-peer offline payments with French payments company Worldline;
- Point of sale payments initiated by the payer with the European Payments Initiative (EPI), an initiative launched by 31 European financial institutions and two third-party acquirers;
- Point of sale payments initiated by the payee with Italian digital payments specialist Nexi; and
- E-commerce payments with technology company Amazon.
The firms were selected following the ECB’s April 2022 call for expressions of interest after fulfilling a number of “essential capabilities” and matching the “specific capabilities” required for the assigned use case.
The prototyping exercise is an important element in the ongoing two-year investigation phase of the digital euro project. It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023 when the ECB will also publish its findings.
The ECB says that there are no plans to re-use the prototypes in the subsequent phases of the digital euro project.