Today, the general public has access to Swedish krona in two forms – state issued money in the form of cash and digital money issued by the commercial banks. As cash is used less and less, there is a risk that the general public will in future no longer have access to, or be able to pay with, state-issued money. This is why the Riksbank is currently investigating the scope for issuing digital cash, a so-called e-krona. No decision has yet been taken on whether an e-krona will be issued.
The Riksbank considers that an e-krona could contribute to strengthening the resilience of the payment system. It is important to have access to an alternative form of payment in the event of serious disruptions to the banks’ or card companies’ systems. An e-krona would fulfil the same task that cash has fulfilled so far – providing a public payment alternative that is available to all and that complements the supply of payment services from the private sector. By providing an e-krona and thereby an alternative infrastructure for payments, the Riksbank could also give other actors than banks direct access to a payment infrastructure where they can offer payment services to their customers. This makes it easier for smaller and newer actors to compete, which benefits innovation.
Providing the general public with central bank money in the form of banknotes and coins is an important part of the Riksbank's task of ensuring that Swedish payments are safe and efficient. Technological advances do not change this task. Cash quite simply needs to be adapted to today’s technology. The Riksbank therefore thinks that there may be reason to issue the Swedish krona digitally, in the form of an e-krona.