(Bloomberg) -- Central-bank-issued digital currencies run the risk of turning into a costly waste of time, according to the Center for European Reform.

Europe -- one of the most advanced economies considering the initiative -- should instead use regulation to make payments cheaper and more competitive, the London-based think-tank said Tuesday in a report. It warned that the cost benefits and privacy incentives of a so-called CBDC are unlikely to be sufficient to entice consumers to use it.

“Without widespread adoption, a CBDC will be an expensive failure, and will do little to advance central banks’ goals,” senior research fellow Zach Meyers said. “The EU shouldn’t be distracted by the prospect of a digital euro -- which may sound impressive and exciting, but may give Europeans few benefits they can’t enjoy already.”

The payment initiative is being explored in about 100 countries across the globe, with backers touting various advantages -- from boosting financial inclusion to lowering the cost of electronic payments. 

Pioneers like the Bahamas and Nigeria have already started allowing the public to use CBDCs, and policy makers in Europe say they will ensure that a future digital euro would be attractive enough not to be swept aside by other private means of payment. The European Central Bank says it may roll out its own CBDC in the coming years.


©2022 Bloomberg L.P.