E-krona pilot phase 4

The Riksbank's e-krona pilot is now releasing its fourth and final report, which analyses how an e-krona could work in practice, if a decision is taken to issue a central bank digital currency. In the report, the Riksbank has further investigated how an e-krona can be used offline for payments if electricity and telecommunications are not working. The Riksbank's work on the e-krona will continue and will focus on design and preparations for the legislation that may be needed if an e-krona is introduced.

One of the basic premises of the e-krona pilot has been that the e-krona should serve as a further payment option to contribute to robustness and increased preparedness. In phase 4, the Riksbank has therefore focused on testing and evaluating whether it is possible to design a secure, balance-based offline solution based on the conditions of the e-krona pilot's test environment.

The technical solution reserves e-krona for offline use in a so-called shadow wallet in the online system. The payment instrument in the form of a payment card records the shadow wallet's balance and subsequent offline transactions. The actual e-kronas issued by the Riksbank never leave the online system and only change hands when the payment instruments are synchronised. The solution thus differs from the offline solution tested by the Riksbank in phase 2, which was token-based and instead involved moving copies of the e-krona to the payment instrument.

In the project, the Riksbank has tested transfers to and from payment cards, offline payments to merchants and offline transfers between end-users. To ensure that all offline payments are correctly recorded in the online system, a robust and secure synchronisation mechanism was also developed and tested.

Many lessons can be learnt from phase 4. Most importantly, a secure and functional offline solution requires a lot of development work on technology, regulations and processes.

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Updated 20/03/2024