Since 2020, the Riksbank has been running a pilot project together with the company Accenture. The aim of the pilot has been to learn more about what a technical solution for an e-krona could look like without determining any specific model or technology from the outset. In parallel with the technical work in the pilot, the Riksbank has analysed various legal aspects linked to an e-krona, such as data protection, financial confidentiality and what kind of asset the e-krona could be.
In 2022, the second stage of the pilot was completed and a third stage was launched. The third stage will continue well into 2023 (see FACT BOX - Lessons from the pilot project).
At the same time, the Riksbank is working on preparations for a possible issuable e-krona. This includes looking at other possible technical solutions, investigating how the e-krona could be distributed to the public and which actors would be involved in this. In addition, work is continuing on examining the legal aspects of an e-krona.
The Riksbank is looking to the market for more knowledge
In 2022, the Riksbank launched a dialogue forum with representatives from the banking sector, Fintech companies, retailers and universities, among others. Among other things, this will discuss different ways of using an e-krona and what the division of roles in the e-krona system could look like.
In April 2022, the Riksbank opened a Request for Information (RFI) whereby potential suppliers were asked to describe their technical solution for an e-krona. The aim of this was to obtain an overview of the solutions currently available on the market ahead of a possible future procurement of an e-krona system.
The Riksbank is also investigating how private individuals experience different payment situations. This is being done through a survey and interviews with private individuals. The results will help the Riksbank to better understand how an e-krona can be designed to meet the public’s needs in a rapidly changing payments market.
FACT BOX - Lessons from the pilot project
The work of the e-krona pilot has been divided into different stages. During the first stage, a test environment was created to simulate how an e-krona payment could work (see Payment Report 2021 - Test of technical solution for an e-krona).
The results of the second stage, which was carried out as a collaboration between the Riksbank, Handelsbanken and the company TietoEVRY, showed that it is possible to integrate a potential e-krona into the current internal systems of the banks. This is important because it would allow bank customers to switch between money in bank accounts and the e-krona. The tests also showed that it would also be possible to make transactions with the e-krona offline. However, offline payments entail some risks. Such payments cannot be checked by the e-krona network when they are being made but only once the payment has been synchronised in online mode. This means that, at least in theory, it would be possible to manipulate payments in offline mode. For the tested solution to become a reality, such risks need to be further investigated.
During the first part of the third stage, the Riksbank tested whether the technical test solution developed for the e-krona offers better opportunities for developing smart payments than traditional technology. Smart payments and smart contracts are concepts that have received increasing attention in recent years. These terms refer to the possibility of creating payment solutions through programming where one or more conditions must be met for the payment to go through. One example concerns buying online, where a payment could be programmed to be executed only once the goods have reached the right address. If the goods do not arrive, the payment will not go through either. The stage three tests showed that the solution developed for the e-krona has some potential for creating smart payments but that more testing and research is needed before this can become reality.