The Riksbank is investigating a digital complement to cash, known as the e-krona. The e-krona would be a digital Swedish krona issued by the Riksbank. So it would be state money, just like cash. The difference is that it would be digital and therefore could be used for more types of payment than cash.

E-krona – state money in digital form

Today, the public has access to Swedish kronor in two forms – state-issued money in the form of cash, i.e. banknotes and coins, and digital money issued by private agents. Of this privately issued money, deposits with commercial banks are the most common, but electronic money is also available even though it is not so common in Sweden. (Read more about different forms of money at: What is money?.

A digital central bank currency, an e-krona, could give the public a continued opportunity to choose between state and private money when making payments. This is one of the reasons that the Riksbank is investigating the possibility of issuing a so-called e-krona – digital central bank money (or CBDC, central bank digital currency, which is how the concept is referred to internationally). The Riksbank’s work on an e-krona is a way to meet the challenges of the future and digitalisation. The e-krona would not replace cash but would complement it.

The Riksbank sees an e-krona as a possible component in our long-term efforts to manage the challenges of digitalisation.

An e-krona could ensure the ability to exchange every krona deposited in a Swedish bank into money issued by the Riksbank. This is important because it means that a krona is worth the same regardless of which bank it is in. The Riksbank and other central banks usually say that cash and central bank digital currency ensure that we have a unified monetary system.

The Riksbank considers that the e-krona could also strengthen the resilience of the payment market. It would complement the supply of money and payment services from the private sector. It is important that there are several alternatives in the event of serious disruptions to bank or card company systems. The e-krona could also work offline.

The e-krona would also contribute to the renewal of the payments market. By providing an e-krona, the Riksbank can give agents other than banks direct access to an alternative payment infrastructure in which they can offer payment services to their customers. This may help small and new players to develop new innovative solutions and products which could promote competition in the payment market.

An e-krona could also play a part in strengthening financial inclusion by allowing a more active role for the state which would provide payment services to those currently excluded.

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 exchange experiences, analysed various technical solutions 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 – has tested 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 an e-krona pilot project, together with the company Accenture, to construct a possible technical platform for the e-krona. The objective of the project was for the Riksbank to learn more about how a technical solution for the e-krona could work. The work of the e-krona pilot has allowed the Riksbank to learn more about the possibilities presented by the solution. In the future, we may use this technical work, after comparison with other technical solutions and models, for a possible e-krona. The technical pilot project was completed in 2023.

Reports on the e-krona

Within the e-krona project, the Riksbank has produced five reports in which you can 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

Whether or not to introduce an e-krona in Sweden is ultimately a political decision. An inquiry into the role of the state in the payment market, presented in March 2023, assesses that there is currently insufficient social need for the Riksbank to issue an e-krona. However, global changes may lead to a different assessment in the future. In its consultation response, the Riksbank points out that work on developing legislation for a possible e-krona needs to begin now, so as to shorten the implementation period if the launch of an e-krona becomes relevant later. Changes in the world around us that may affect Sweden include market developments, as well as the work of the European Central Bank (ECB) in preparing for a digital euro and the European Commission’s legislative proposal on a digital euro. An e-krona could also ensure that the Riksbank’s responsibility to ensure safe, efficient and accessible payments can be achieved in the future in a payment market that is constantly under development.

Updated 25/03/2024