Lagarde says central bankers are nearing decision on whether to issue a eurozone digital currency

Christine Lagarde, the head of the European Central Bank, said Thursday that it would soon be made public whether the Eurosystem will move forward with a eurozone-based digital currency.

Her remarks, reported by Bloomberg, come months after Lagarde first indicated that the ECB was working on such an initiative. 

"The Eurosystem has so far not made a decision on whether to introduce a digital euro. But, like many other central banks around the world, we are exploring the benefits, risks and operational challenges of doing so," Lagarde was quoted as saying Thursday by Bloomberg. "The findings of a Eurosystem task force are expected to be presented to the public in the coming weeks, followed by the launch of a public consultation."

As noted by Lagarde, many central banks, including the ECB, are pursuing digital currency initiatives. And in her remarks, she indicated that if the ECB did move forward with such a project, it would be premised in part on providing payments access to eurozone residents.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that our citizens have choice and cannot be excluded from the payments ecosystem due to the unilateral actions of others,” she was quoted as saying.