The European Central Bank (ECB) is an institution of the European Union, which defines and implements the monetary policy for the euro area. The euro area now consists of 19 EU countries that have introduced the single currency since its launched in 1999.
The main tasks of the Bank is to maintain the euro's purchasing power and price stability in the euro area.
The ECB also deals with issues related to e-money and virtual currency strategies, as they might affect the euro. For example, the Bank produces statistics on e-money issues by monetary financial institutions in the euro area, and has published a number of research papers on virtual currencies schemes.