ECB tells banks to embrace instant payments to beat Bitcoin

ROME (Reuters) – Banks should speed up the introduction of instant payments, whereby money is received immediately and around the clock, to counter the allure of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, a European Central Bank director said on Thursday.

With Bitcoin zooming past $11,000, cryptocurrencies – which can be used for instant electronic payments – have gained prominence in the financial debate and some central banks such as Sweden’s are even considering the introduction of their own version of them.

Yves Mersch, a member of the ECB’s executive board, was dismissive of these digital tokens but he urged commercial banks to provide an alternative.

“Banks need to implement instant payments as soon as possible and provide an alternative narrative to the ongoing public debate on the alleged innovation brought by virtual currency schemes,” he told an event in Rome…

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