LEDGER INSIGHTS: Fluency, one of only two companies in both official ECB and Bank of England CBDC workgroups
Ledger Insights, October 25, 2021
Today the European Central Bank ECB announced the 30 people who will serve on its digital euro Markets Advisory Group. When the bank announced the two-year digital euro investigation phase in July, it shared plans for the group.
Some notable absentees on the ECB’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) panel include Mastercard, Visa and PayPal. In contrast, the European Payments Initiative (EPI) is included. The EPI is backed by 31 European banks and aims to create a pan-European payment system that will rival Visa and Mastercard. Card acquiring solution Worldline is a member of both EPI and the ECB’s Advisory Group.
That said, it’s not a total U.S. lockout as Stripe’s Sean Mullaney is included in this group as well as the Bank of England’s digital currency forums. However, Stripe’s founders are Irish and it has dual headquarters in Ireland and the United States. Mullaney is one of only two people to be represented in both Europe’s and England’s digital currency groups. The other is Inga Mullins of Fluency, a specialist CBDC blockchain startup looking to address interoperability with existing banking infrastructure.
England has two Forums, one for business (31 people) and one for technology (26). Despite including almost double the number of people, there is a far higher proportion of banks on the ECB panel, which includes ten banks, compared to seven across the two English panels. However, for the ECB, there is perhaps a need to represent a range of countries.
“Their expertise will facilitate the integration of prospective users’ and distributors’ views on a digital euro during the investigation phase,” said ECB Board Member Fabio Panetta, Chair of the High-Level Task Force.
The first meeting will be held in November and at least quarterly from now on. Apart from the Market Advisory Group, the ECB plans to engage with institutions through Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB), hold focus groups, and have technical workshops with industry.