Public digital currency could be needed to lower cost of payments: ECB

FILE PHOTO: A computer keyboard lit by a displayed cyber code is seen in this illustration picture taken on March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A digital currency backed by the European Central Bank could be necessary if international payments within Europe remained too expensive, an ECB document said, adding that its possible adoption could be accelerated by signs of lower cash usage.

The confidential document, seen by Reuters, also says that an ECB-backed digital currency would have “far-reaching implications” for monetary policy and for banks, and therefore its possible introduction should be carefully assessed.

The document will be presented to European Union finance ministers at a meeting on Thursday.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Hugh Lawson