The Italian Banking Association, or ABI, has confirmed her support for the implementation of a sovereign European digital currency by starting pilot studies on a digital euro project.

According to an announcement, the association is working with its research and development division, ABI Lab, and commercial banks in the country to develop an experimental digital euro.

The ABI’s digital euro study will reportedly focus on two main areas: technical feasibility analysis and programmability of central bank digital currencies to differentiate from existing electronic payment methods.

The Italian network company SIA will assist the consortium in the technical feasibility studies. SIA is also a contributor in Project Spunta, the blockchain-based interbank settlement layer of the ABI.

Although the project focuses on an experimental digital euro, there are no indications of any involvement of the Italian central bank. Instead, other employees, such as digital services outfit Reply and consulting giant PwC, are named as partners in the pilot study.

For ABI, the program is part of an effort to prepare Italian banks for a future that could include a digital euro. Commenting on the goals and objectives of the project, an ABI spokesperson told Cointelegraph:

“The aim of the initiative is to contribute proactively to the public debate and support banks operating in Italy in preparing for the future. It is not intended to prejudge the [European Central Bank] Decides on the adoption of a digital currency, but rather to explore potential use cases and think in advance about the implications of its possible implementation. “

In December, an ECB official said the bank’s consideration of a digital euro could go well into 2021. Previous reports even stated that it was a digital currency from a regional central bank at least five years from inception.

In France, the central bank is already conducting various test protocols for its experimental digital euro. Ethereum developer ConsenSys is one of the blockchain companies cooperation with the partner firms testing the digital euro on behalf of the Bank of France.