Swedish central bank set to test digital currency

The Swedish central bank – Riksbank, has rolled out plans to test a digital currency, the e-krona.

It’s part of the Scandinavian nation’s  vision of a cashless society.

The pilot store will only accept digital payments in the form of bank cards and smartphone-based pay solutions.

The e-krona initiative is technically being run as a pilot project to test the suitability of different digital currencies.

“We will need to run trials, then test and prove various solutions,” said Eva Julin, the Riksbank’s e-krona project manager.

“Any technological solutions we develop and test must have the capacity to be viable and practical. This is a learning process for us, but one that may lead to useable digital currency.”


Changing attitudes


This landmark development comes as more citizens are dropping the use of cash for daily transactions, with the Riksbank recording a sharp increase in mobile, card and online payments in the last eight years.

The proportion of cash transactions in the retail sector has dropped from 40% in 2010 to 15% in 2017.

Around 85% of consumers aged 16 to 74 years in Sweden conducted their banking online in 2017.

This compares to a European average of 51%.

The central bank has not taken a firm decision about whether a national e-krona launch might be a short- or long-term possibility.

Sweden’s march towards a heavily digitised economy was highlighted on October 1, when the global furniture giant Ikea rolled out its first cash-free retail store in Valbo.

In 2016, Sweden set a target to be the world’s first cashless society by 2030.