The world’s oldest central bank, Sweden’s Riksbank, was the first to issue paper banknotes in the 1660s. Now it is launching a project to examine what a central bank-backed digital currency would look like and what challenges it would pose. It hopes to take a decision on whether to start issuing what it calls an “e-krona” within two years.
Sweden has seen a dramatic drop in the use of cash – down 40% since 2009.
Cecilia Skingsley, deputy governor at the Riksbank: “This is as revolutionary as the paper note 300 years ago. What does it mean for monetary policy and financial stability? How do we design this: a rechargeable card, an app or another way?” Cecilia Skingsley gave a speech today at a Fin-Tech conference in Stockholm. She pointed out that the “e-krona” will not replace cash and other means of payment but would function as a complement.
Other central banks such the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada have started looking at the potential benefits and challenges of digital currencies such as bitcoin.