Abstract

Central banks show an interest in electronic money or e-money, cyber-cash, and electronic purses or e-purses, because these new developments may have a bearing on some of their functions. Lawyers are interested in these developments because they have to know whether and how existing legal rules can be applied to them, whether and how the rules need to be adapted, and whether new rules need to be drawn up. Central bank lawyers involved in areas such as payment system oversight, banking supervision, and perhaps even consumer protection or fraud prevention are in positions where they may need to offer guidance to governmental and institutional policymakers. In addition, lawyers, as private individuals and consumers, may soon be active users of e-money. Therefore, their interest in new payment instruments is not merely academic: it is also practical.