Government inquiry into the digital payment market
The Riksbank has submitted a proposal to the Riksdag to review the state’s role on the digital payment market. The Riksbank proposes a committee be appointed to investigate whether the Riksbank should have the possibility to issue an e-krona and whether this could be given the status of legal tender.
Published: 7 November 2019
The question of whether Sweden should introduce a state-issued digital krona, or e-krona, is one that will affect the whole of society. The Riksbank has therefore also asked the Riksdag to appoint a committee to review central bank money's role in a digitalised economy and investigate whether the Riksbank should have the right to issue electronic money. The committee should also review the role and responsibility of both the state and the private sector on the payment market.
In most countries, there has long been legislation stipulating that money issued by the central bank is to be legal tender. This means that it must be possible to pay with it everywhere, unless a contract specifying payment by other means has been entered into. In Sweden, it is becoming more and more difficult to pay with the Riksbank’s money – cash. This is because there are costs and risks associated with cash that are leading some restaurants and shops to choose not to accept it once the number of customers wishing to pay with cash has become small enough. A sign saying that cash will not be accepted is all that is needed to enter such a contract.
Consequently, for the concept of legal tender to remain relevant in a digital future, the Riksbank has also proposed, in its submission to the Riksdag, that the committee be assigned to conduct a review of the concept of legal tender.
The Riksdag has urged the Government to appoint an inquiry in accordance with the Riksbank’s proposal.