Two decades after the first euro banknotes and coins were distributed in Europe, billions denominated in the old national currencies are still in circulation, mainly in Germany, according to Bloomberg.

The total value of banknotes and coins that can be exchanged at eurozone central banks would be equivalent to 8.5 billion euros, according to calculations by Bloomberg analysts. How much of these amounts will eventually be converted into euros is unclear, as are the reasons why this has not happened so far.

Possible explanations range from savings forgotten under the mattress to souvenirs from another era. What is certain is that most of the old money is in Germany, where cash remains popular and the Bundesbank has announced that it will continue to exchange old German marks indefinitely.

However, other countries are not as patient. France, Italy and Spain have all stopped exchanging old money. Portugal has stopped exchanging old escudo coins and from February 2022 will end this option for old banknotes as well.

Euro banknotes and coins were introduced in cash on January 1, 2002, three years after the single currency was produced, according to the source quoted by Agerpres. The euro was originally used in 12 countries in the single area, with Cyprus, Estonia and other countries adopting the euro a few years later.

The European Central Bank is currently continuing its plans for a new design for euro banknotes. This new design would be ready in 2024 and by the end of this decade the Frankfurt institution could launch a digital euro.

Editor : A.A.

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