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Fabio Panetta


Digital euro development, European Central Bank

VISIONARY No. 2

Fabio Panetta’s résumé in banking is impressive and, at first glance, straightforward. A veteran Italian economist, Panetta has been on the Executive Board of the European Central Bank since early 2020. Until 2019, he was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Single Supervisory Mechanism at the ECB, after previous stints at Banca d’Italia and the Italian Insurance Supervisory Authority. Today, he oversees the ECB’s work on international relations, as well as market infrastructure and payments.

Over recent years, however, Panetta has developed a pet project for which he has made quite the name for himself: establishing a digital euro. While the investigational phase on the EU’s plans to develop its own centralized digital currency is ongoing, Panetta can today be seen touring the global crypto circuit, touting the benefits of a future central bank digital currency in Europe. One of its main benefits, Panetta says, is wresting control back from the Big Tech giants, in an era when major players are looking more closely at entering the payments ecosystem.

“CBDCs could support the digitalization of the banking sector by facilitating innovative payment opportunities and leveling the playing field for banks that are more exposed to competition from new players like Big Tech firms,” Panetta said recently.

What to watch out for this year: Panetta will continue to make the case for a digital euro, at a time when national banks globally are deepening their forays into the digital currency world, and as Big Tech players explore opportunities to embed virtual currencies into their own services.

What’s their superpower: Possessing a razor-sharp knowledge of what it takes to stabilize financial markets, alongside a political drive to ensure that Europe doesn’t fall behind in the digitalization of the payments ecosystem.

Influence score: 20/30

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