Cryptocurrencies have received a considerable amount of attention in recent years. The most well-known example is Bitcoin. Bitcoin advocates say that it can work as money and is particularly attractive for those who wish to make international payments. But the price of Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies has varied considerably over time, while it can also be expensive to use them for payments. In addition, the payment is not carried out instantly. Therefore, it is difficult to believe that most of those who have acquired Bitcoin have done so in order to manage their payments. It is more likely that most owners of cryptocurrencies have bought them as a speculative asset that they hope will rise in value. In other words, this type of instrument does not work in practice as money and the Riksbank, like other central banks, therefore considers cryptoasset to be a more suitable term than cryptocurrency. The use of cryptoassets for payments is extremely marginal in Sweden.
Cryptoassets are often associated with the special technology upon which Bitcoin is built, known as “blockchain” technology. The idea of blockchains is to build up a decentralised system of information that is safeguarded against counterfeiting by means of advanced encryption. This in turn means that no central node is needed in the system that guarantees authenticity. Not all cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology, and blockchain technology can in turn be used for many different things.