The Riksbank is investigating whether it is possible to issue a digital complement to cash, a so-called e-krona. Just like cash, the e-krona would be issued by the Riksbank and be available to the general public. At yet no decision has been taken to issue an e-krona.
The e-krona – digital state money
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. Sweden is currently one of the countries where digital payments are increasing the fastest.
The Riksbank has the task to promote a safe and efficient payment system, a task that may be more difficult if the majority of households and companies no longer uses cash as a means of payment in the future. In response to the increasingly marginalised role of cash, the Riksbank is investigating whether it is possible to issue a digital complement to cash, the e-krona.
An e-krona would offer the general public continued access to state money, issued by the Riksbank, but in digital form. In that the e-krona would be digital, it would be better adapted to our digital society than cash is, and it could be used in situations where it is not possible to pay with cash now. At present, the Riksbank only offers the banks and other participants in the RIX payment system digital money. All other digital money in society is private bank money issued by the commercial banks. Read more at What is money? An e-krona would act together with the existing payment system and one e-krona would be worth as much as a physical 1-krona coin or one krona in a private bank account.
About the Riksbank’s e-krona project
The Riksbank started the e-krona project in 2017 to analyse the need for an e-krona. The project team has held a dialogue with several national and international agents to hear their views on an e-krona, reviewed 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 pilot – developing a technical solution for the e-krona
In 2020, the Riksbank entered into a more practical phase of the e-krona project. To test how an e-krona might look and function, the Riksbank started a project, the e-krona pilot, together with the company Accenture, to construct a possible technical platform for the e-krona. The objective of the project is for the Riksbank to learn more about how a technical solution for the e-krona could work. By testing this technical solution, the Riksbank will be able to learn more about the possibilities of the solution and also to use it as a basis for comparisons with other technical solutions and models for a possible e-krona.
Short video on the e-krona explaining the technical solution that has been tested to see if it is possible to develop a digital complement to cash.
Next step in the e-krona project
In 2021, the Riksbank will continue its work on:
- Investigating the need for and effects of an e-krona on the Swedish economy.
- Testing the technical solution for the e-krona within the e-krona pilot.
- Investigating whether and if so how an e-krona would affect Swedish legislation and the Riksbank’s task.
- Comparing different technical solutions and a models for an e-krona.
The Riksbank will also start the work of preparing for a possible procurement of an issuable e-krona.
Reports on the e-krona
Within the e-krona project, the Riksbank has produced three reports, in which you read about their analysis and conclusions so far.
In-depth reading about the e-krona
The journal Sveriges Riksbank Economic Review has published two special issues on the e-krona:
Political decision on whether to introduce an e-krona in Sweden – inquiry in progress
The question of whether Sweden should introduce a state-issued digital krona is one that will affect the whole of society and, ultimately, the decision on whether to introduce an e-krona in Sweden is a political one.
An inquiry is under way into the state’s role in the payment market and the need for central bank digital currency. Read more on the Government website: Statens roll på betalningsmarknaden (The state’s role on the payment market) - Regeringen.se (in Swedish)