Market Infrastructure & Payments

We provide infrastructure for payment and securities settlement, cooperate with market stakeholders to integrate financial markets in Europe, and oversee financial market infrastructure and payment instruments.

Keeping up with innovation in financial markets: distributed ledger technology

Technology is driving rapid change in the financial sector. While some experts are still sceptical, others believe fintech will soon disrupt the financial industry. As terms like distributed ledger technology, blockchain and digital currencies enter the standard vocabulary in the media, more and more actors – including market players, central bankers and academics – are exploring the opportunities these technologies present for the financial sector.

The post-trade landscape is often considered an area where new technologies could have a considerable impact. Among them, distributed ledger technology (or DLT) has received particular attention for its potential to revolutionise securities and payments by eliminating intermediaries and connecting end users directly. But, what is distributed ledger technology and why does it matter to the ECB?

Learn more about new technologies and the ECB’s initiatives to support technological development in the field of market infrastructure in the new, easy-to-read special feature of the Annual Report on distributed ledger technology. Take a look and share it with your colleagues!

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Providing market infrastructure

The Eurosystem has developed and currently operates the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system, TARGET2, and the European platform for securities settlement in central bank money, TARGET2-Securities (T2S).

Integrating financial markets

The ECB and the Eurosystem foster financial market integration in Europe by contributing to more efficient euro retail payments and the realisation of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). We promote securities harmonisation and the safe and efficient mobilisation of collateral in the euro area via the Correspondent Central Banking Model (CCBM).

Overseeing market infrastructure

The Eurosystem performs oversight to ensure the smooth functioning of payment, clearing and settlement systems. It monitors their performance, assesses them against its objectives of safety and efficiency and, where necessary, induces change.

Market infrastructure and payments explained