Spanish financial services group CaixaBank has been selected by the European Central Bank along with four other organisations for the development of a digital euro prototype. 

The lender said it is the only European bank selected for the project and will be engaged in developing a prototype for peer-to-peer (P2P) online payments using the digital euro.

Starting this month until the end of 2022, the lender will develop a mobile app, which will simulate the transfer of digital euros to accounts by individuals and/or transfer of the digital currency to another individual’s account. 

In April this year, the ECB called on banks and technology companies to submit their expression of interest for the prototyping initiative to which 54 institutions responded. 

Other than CaixaBank, the ECB has selected Worldline, EPI, Nexi and Amazon.  

The ECB said: “The aim of this prototyping exercise is to test how well the technology behind a digital euro integrates with prototypes developed by companies. 

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“Simulated transactions will be initiated using the front-end prototypes developed by the five companies and processed through the Eurosystem’s interface and back-end infrastructure. There are no plans to re-use the prototypes in the subsequent phases of the digital euro project.”

The initiative is part of the ECB’s ongoing two-year investigation phase of the digital euro project and the central bank hoped to complete it in the first quarter of 2023. 

Last year, CaixaBank reached an agreement with US-based technology major IBM to boost its digital capabilities.