EU Merchants may soon be required to accept the digital euro as legal tender, paving the way for a potential shift towards a cashless society.

According to a paper seen by CoinDesk, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) could be given the same status as banknotes and coins, meaning payments made with it would legally discharge obligations to pay.

This would also entail mandatory acceptance at full face value, potentially increasing the digital euro’s network effects and impacting its distribution.

However, there are still considerations to be made, with the paper asking whether exemptions should be allowed to balance the principles of contractual freedom and mandatory acceptance.

This comes as the European Central Bank decides whether to formally issue the digital euro in the fall, with officials prioritizing potential use cases and technical details.

Any legislation needed to underpin the CBDC will involve EU national governments, with upcoming bills examining anti-money laundering rules and compensation for currency distributors.