A recent survey conducted by the Bank of Spain has revealed that a significant portion of the Spanish population is not enthusiastic about the European Central Bank’s (ECB) digital currency project, with 65% indicating disinterest. The study, titled “Study on the habits in use of cash,” sheds light on the public’s perception of the digital euro, a potential pan-European central bank digital currency (CBDC). The findings highlight a gap between the government’s enthusiasm and the general population’s readiness for digital currency adoption.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos and involving 1,600 respondents from the general public and representatives of small businesses, uncovered several key insights. Notably, only 20% of the general public was aware of the term “digital euro.” Small business representatives displayed a slightly higher awareness rate of 23%. These figures suggest that there is a need for greater education and awareness efforts to inform the public about the digital euro and its implications.
Digital Euro adoption challenges in Spain
In terms of willingness to embrace the digital euro, the survey revealed a decline in enthusiasm from 2022 to 2023. In 2022, 58% responded affirmatively when asked about their willingness to use the digital euro, but in 2023, only 20% expressed their intention to incorporate the digital euro into their regular payment methods. A substantial 65% of respondents stated that they would not consider using the digital euro for payments. These figures underscore the challenges and hesitancy among the Spanish population regarding the adoption of a digital euro.
Interestingly, the survey also highlighted that the level of interest in the digital euro is age-dependent. The younger demographic, aged 18 to 24, exhibited the highest enthusiasm for adopting the digital euro, with 36% indicating a willingness to use it for payments. However, this interest gradually declines as age progresses, with 31% among ages 25-34, 24% among ages 35-44, 18% among ages 55-64, and a mere 7% among those aged 65 and above. These findings suggest that younger generations may be more open to embracing digital currencies, while older demographics are more resistant to change.
The Bank of Spain released a document explaining the nature and potential uses of the digital euro. The central bank argued that the physical cash format may not fully leverage the advantages offered by the increasing digitalization of the economy and society. In this context, the digital euro is envisioned as a crucial component of the financial system, allowing electronic payments to play a more integral role in the evolving economic landscape.
Spain has demonstrated a strong commitment to the European Union’s digital economy initiatives. Notably, the country has chosen to implement the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA), a pan-European cryptocurrency framework, six months ahead of the general deadline, underscoring its dedication to staying at the forefront of digital financial innovation.
While the digital euro may not yet have widespread support among the Spanish population, the government’s forward-looking approach suggests that Spain remains committed to the broader digital transformation taking place across the European Union.
The Bank of Spain’s recent survey underscores the disparity between the government’s enthusiasm for the digital euro and the limited interest and awareness among the Spanish population. With only 20% of the general public aware of the digital euro and 65% expressing disinterest in using it for payments, there is a clear need for education and awareness initiatives to bridge this gap. The age-dependent nature of interest in the digital euro further highlights the challenges of digital currency adoption. Nevertheless, Spain’s proactive stance in implementing digital financial frameworks like MiCA indicates a broader commitment to embracing the digital economy, even if the public’s readiness for digital currency adoption remains a work in progress.