Digital central bank money internationally
The Riksbank was one of the first central banks to consider the possibility of issuing a digital central bank currency (CBDC), but interest in the issue has grown rapidly in recent years and today most central banks are examining the conditions for the introduction of such a currency.
The fact that international interest has grown is due to several things, but the most important reason is that the digitisation of the payment market has now come a long way in many more countries than Sweden. This means that cash in these countries is also being marginalised, which could lead to a deterioration in public access to central bank money. As we explain on the 'E-krona' page, the possibility of being able to exchange privately issued money to central bank money is a cornerstone of the monetary system.
Working groups discussing CBDCs
The high interest has led to several international working groups discussing the design and policy of a CBDC. The Riksbank is a participant in several of these.
At the start of 2020, an international working group was formed on behalf of the central bank governors from a group of countries, including Sweden, to share knowledge, create a common stance and discuss the way forward with regard to CBDCs that are accessible to the public. Apart from the Riksbank, the European Central Bank and the central banks of Canada, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States are involved. The group is also collaborating with the BIS Innovation Hub. The working group has published several reports. You can read more about the work and read the reports published on the BIS website, Bank for International Settlements (bis.org).
The G7 countries are also discussing the question of central bank digital currencies. In March 2021, a G7 expert group was set up which has developed common principles for the design of CBDCs. The Riksbank and the Central Bank of Switzerland also participated in the work that ended in October of the same year.
How can international payments be made more efficient?
Another important issue is how international payments can be made more efficiently. The G20 countries therefore launched in 2020 a roadmap of 19 working areas that can contribute to cheaper and faster international payments. The Riksbank has an active and leading role in several of the working groups and one work area deals with how digital central bank currencies can contribute to more efficient international payments.