Document Type


Publication Date


Source Publication

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 41:4, 1119 – 1148


banknote, electronic banknote, digital currency, CBDC, cryptocurrency, centrally issued digital currency, central bank, ECB, NCB, ESCB, legal tender, monetary law


The article discusses whether an electronic banknote is a ‘banknote’. The issue is dealt with as a matter of general statutory interpretation in the context of evolving technologies and institutional arrangements. The article proposes a clear terminology to address concepts underlying digital currencies and access to central bank money and argues that a banknote may be ‘written’ electronically. The article is critical of both account-based Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and cryptocurrencies and highlights features of nonblockchain token-based alternatives. It sheds light on considerations affecting the selection of a design which is appropriate from both a functional and legal perspective and addresses architectural models for the issuance of e-banknotes.


Unedited pre-print draft version.