The use of banknotes and coins is declining in society. At the same time, technological advances with regard to electronic money and payment methods are proceeding rapidly. The Riksbank is therefore investigating whether Swedish kronor need to be made available in electronic form, the so-called e-krona. No decisions have yet been taken on issuing an e-krona.
The Riksbank has the task to promote a safe and efficient payment system, a task that may be more difficult if cash is no longer used as a means of payment by the majority of households and companies in the future. The Riksbank therefore needs to consider which role it should adopt in an evermore digital world. As part of this, we started a project in the spring of 2017 to examine the scope for the Riksbank to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC), a so-called “e-krona”.
An e-krona would give the general public access to a digital complement to cash, where the state would guarantee the value of the money. At present, the Riksbank only offers banks and other RIX participants digital money. The other digital money in society is private bank money issued by commercial banks (read more on the page: What is money?).
The Riksbank’s e-krona project
In the e-krona project the Riksbank has analysed the need for an e-krona. The project team has had a dialogue with several national and international agents to hear their views on an e-krona, they have looked at proposals for suitable technology and examined the legal issues that need to be dealt with to ensure the Riksbank has a clear mandate to issue an e-krona.
The e-krona project has produced two reports, in which you read about their analysis and conclusions so far.
Next step – a technical solution for the e-krona
- The Riksbank has implemented a public procurement of a technology supplier to the e-krona pilot project and intends to sign an agreement with consulting company Accenture.
- Continuing to investigate whether and if so how an e-krona would affect Swedish legislation and the Riksbank’s task
- Continuing to investigate the need for and effects of an e-krona on the Swedish economy
The question of whether Sweden should introduce a state-issued digital krona is one that will affect the whole of society. The Riksbank has therefore submitted a proposal to the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) that the need for an e-krona should be investigated by a group of experts in different areas, see: The Riksbank proposes a review of the concept of legal tender. The Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) agrees with the Riksbank that an inquiry is needed, read more on the Riksdag’s website (in Swedish only): Statens roll på den digitala betalningsmarknaden bör utredas.
A dialogue with the general public, payment market participants and other central agencies will be important in the Riksbank’s continued work. There is no decision on whether or not to issue an e-krona, but the Riksbank is continuing to investigate the possibilities for issuing an e-krona to increase competence and in this way be better prepared to meet a new digital payment market.