Early reports about the public comments emerging from the European Commission’s public consultation of its digital euro initiative are in. More than 11,000 messages, mostly negative, have been submitted over the past two weeks. Almost two months remain for feedback submissions. Last year’s public comment period on the digital euro received less than nine thousand responses over the full course of the consultation. The plurality of respondents were from Germany.
“Last year, there were grave concerns about privacy. People are understandably concerned about what a CBDC would mean for their financial privacy. It looks like the more things change, the more they stay the same. New year, same concerns,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
In response to privacy concerns, Paolo Gentiloni, the Commissioner for Economy, noted that “a completely anonymous digital euro is not desirable.”
“The greatest threat posed by CBDCs is the opportunity for the government to completely eliminate the privacy citizens enjoy while utilizing cash. Any CBDC should have a bulletproof shield that keeps government out of the day-to-day financial transactions of the citizenry,” said Gardner.
“While some are saying that practical uses for CBDCs are limited, I believe that the concern isn’t truly about the technology. People are scared for the future. They want to know that they won’t be subject to the whims of an authoritarian state. If you look at the path that China’s taking, it isn’t a stretch to consider what happens to privacy in a worst-case scenario,” noted Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“For countries with populations who value their financial independence and privacy, a firewall separating government agencies and the data which would be ingrained within a CBDC rollout should be non-negotiable. It doesn’t surprise me that there’s significant concern. Mollifying that concern, and ensuring the public is comfortable with new CBDC technologies, is going to be the most difficult part of implementation,” offered Gardner.