Fintech firm Monei has now initiated a pilot program for a stablecoin pegged to the euro, known as EURM, under the oversight of the Bank of Spain. This pilot, which commenced in January as part of the regulatory sandbox, involves a select group of individual participants to ensure a low margin of error. The purpose of the trial is to test the transaction capabilities of EURM. Participants are required to verify their identity, set up a wallet, deposit 10 euros into their account, and then convert this amount into 10 EURM. The value of each EURM is equivalently backed by euros and safeguarded in Spanish banks, including BBVA and Caixabank.
Alex Saiz Verdaguer, the CEO of Monei, views this trial as a crucial move towards fully digital payments. He anticipates that this new stablecoin will enable money transfers in ways that are more secure, efficient, cost-effective, democratic, and free than current methods. The announcement from Monei highlights that EURM could significantly speed up transactions to just milliseconds for anyone with a mobile phone, with incredibly low transaction fees. Additionally, the stablecoin aims to support various corporate functionalities, like real-time employee payments or bonuses, driven by automated systems.
In a broader context, the Bank of Spain had previously announced in 2022 its exploration into a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC), distinct from the digital euro initiative that aims to encompass the entire eurozone. Verdaguer hinted at the potential for EURM to become a key technology for the Bank of Spain, especially noting separate tests conducted in partnership with Cecabank, Abanca, and Adhara Blockchain in January 2024. Spain’s approach to digital currency is notable, with its CBDC program declared as separate from the eurozone’s digital euro project. Furthermore, the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has announced its intention to implement the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation ahead of schedule, by six months.