With the rise of the digital ecosystem, a race for cryptos and digital assets has begun. Countries across the globe are planning, assessing and evaluating a solution-based digital ecosystem. Think tanks, multilateral organizations, sovereigns as well as international banks are working in collaboration to establish a system implementing a new payment settlement system.
The European Union is one nation that passed legislation regulating crypto assets in April 2023. Amid this Slovakia, one of the European nations passed a law codifying the right to use cash as a method of payment after a vote to amend the nation’s constitution passed in parliament.
The new legislation was initiated by the Sme Rodina party, also known as the “We Are Family” party, and was reportedly drafted as a precautionary measure against the proposed digital euro.
The report published by the EU highlights that the digital euro as a payment option allows everyone to pay digitally everywhere in the euro area. The evolution of cash in the digital age, protecting the role of public money as a monetary anchor for the financial system a European platform for innovation, allowing intermediaries to build services for their customers that are instantly available across Europe Increasing resilience of European payments and supporting strategic autonomy
As reported by European news agency Euractiv, legislator Miloš Svrček, one of the legislation’s co-authors, told members of parliament during a debate that the amendment was necessary to protect Slovakia’s financial sovereignty. Euractiv also reports Slovakia will amend its constitution to shore up shopkeepers’ rights to refuse cash for payments of goods and services.
It is highlighted in the report that the prominent aim of the digital euro will be making it a public good accessible to citizens, it underlines that the Eurosystem will issue the digital euro and ensure payments’ settlement. Supervised intermediaries will distribute the digital euro, managing customer relationships, digital euro payments and related services. Smooth onboarding and simple access for end users, through existing online banking or mobile banking apps and a new digital euro app. Further, easy porting of digital euro holdings from one provider to another
It aims at ensuring fair and adequate incentives for the distribution of free basic use by private individuals and economic incentives for distributing payment service providers. Also, Complements, rather than substitutes, cash available both online and offline. It ensures a high level of privacy by default. The ECB has no interest in seeing or storing users’ private information. It also clarifies that the digital euro will never be programmable money.
This recent step by Slovakia amid the EU deliberations on the digital Euro aims to provide a secure and constitutional right to individuals, communities and businesses to conduct their activities. Slovakia’s proactive approach in amending its constitution to protect cash payments sets an important precedent, highlighting the need to balance technological advancements with preserving financial freedom and individual choice. By enshrining the right to use cash in its constitution, Slovakia reiterates its commitment to providing its citizens with diverse and secure payment options.
As the world continues to navigate the evolving landscape of digital currencies, the decision made by Slovakia’s parliament sends a clear message that the protection of financial sovereignty and the preservation of personal privacy are paramount. Whether the future holds a digital euro or alternative digital currencies, Slovakia has taken a significant step in safeguarding its citizens’ right to conduct transactions with tangible currency.