29 Spanish banks have shared their plans to pilot digital euro payments during a Proof of Concept that they hope to implement this year.
The banks, including BBVA, Sabadell, Santander, ING and Deutsche Bank, are joined by payment services organizations Iberpay, Bizum and Redsys.
The group acknowledges that this relates to a possible issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), as the Eurosystem CBDC research will only finish in October 2023. A decision on whether to issue a digital euro will only be made after that.
However, the Spanish banks want to test how a retail CBDC would be included in the current payment infrastructure, including banks, processors and other offerings such as the local instant payment system Bizum.
The development comes almost two months after the ECB tapped Amazon, Nexi and three other companies to participate in a digital euro payment prototyping exercise. The exercise is part of ECB’s two-year digital euro investigation project and is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2023.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has shared its work priorities which include person-to-person (P2P) transfers, in-store payments and e-commerce payments. The tests will involve the banks as the intermediary and custodians of the CBDC accounts.
Iberpay has already led several trials relating to tokenized payments and programmable or smart money. As part of its smart money experiments, it previously trialled a potential token-based bearer CBDC and an account-based digital currency using the Iberpay Red-i interbank blockchain network.
The results of the latest experiments will be shared in 2023.
The full list of the participating banks is below but appears to omit Spain’s third largest bank CaixaBank. The banks are: BBVA, Banco Sabadell, Banco Santander, Abanca, Arquia, Banca March, Banca Pueyo, Banco Caminos, Banco Mediolanum, Bankinter, Caixa Guissona, Caixa Ontinyent, Caja de Ingenieros, Cajalmendralejo, Cecabank, Deutsche Bank, Eurocaja Rural, EVO Banco, Grupo Caja Rural, Grupo Cajamar, Ibercaja, ING, Kutxabank, Laboral Kutxa, N26, Openbank, Orange Bank, Targobank and Unicaja Banco.
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