Stefan Carlsson, eCurrency, Chief Financial Officer
Central banks around the world are investigating digital fiat currencies within their country contexts to evaluate the needs, benefits and impacts ranging from financial inclusion, greater efficiency and resilience, financial stability, and monetary control and stability.
Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, launched a project in March 2017 with the aim of investigating the need for a digital Swedish Krona or an “e-krona” and the possible consequences of introducing such a complement to physical cash. The project is structured into three phases. Phase 1 is to develop a concrete theoretical proposal for the e-krona and a system for the e-krona. Subsequently the first interim report titled “The Riksbank’s e-krona project Report 1” was published in September with findings including the possible challenges on the future payments market, definition of an e-krona, the Riksbank’s operative role in an e-krona system, consequences on Riksbank’s balance sheet, monetary policy, payments market and financial stability, effects on payment market participants, as well as related regulatory and legal questions.
“An e-krona would give the general public access to a digital complement to cash guaranteed by the state and several payment services suppliers could connect to the e-krona system. Currently the Riksbank only offers participants in RIX digital payments (the Riksbank’s system for large-value payments between financial institutions). By functioning independently from the infrastructure used by the commercial bank system, the e-krona system could also make the payment system more robust in the event of disruptions to, for instance, the system for card payments,” as written in the summary of the report.
Riksbank will continue to investigate the questions related to the e-krona. Phase 1 will conclude in December 2017 according to the published project plan. If the Executive Board decides to continue to investigate further, then the project will carry out phase 2 to work out regulations, operational proposals and evaluate technologies during 2018. Based on decision at the end of phase 2, the project may launch the e-krona in test environments, develop the concept and complete the technology and organization for the e-krona system during phase 3 in 2019.
eCurrency, as a pioneer of the digital fiat currency technology solution, values and supports the remarkable research done by the Riksbank in initiating the e-krona project, as well other central banks and organizations, for sharing its findings and insights which contribute to a more efficient and secure digital future.