A concerned central bank of Sweden, the Riksbank issued a notification that it is yet to issue eKronas because the project is “not concluded” yet, warning investors that any website or social media announcing the sale of such e-Krona on behalf of the central bank is fraudulent. The e-krona is meant to be Sweden’s own digital currency to work complimenting physical cash. The regulator has also requested that when such unsolicited offers came to them, it would recommend checking with the central bank.
In a rare case, Swedish cash circulation by 2009 had fallen by nearly 40% urging central bank to initiate better products and services for its citizens. Eventually, in 2016, it proposed to issue digital currency of its fiat-krona and was circulated in 2017.
Deputy Governor at that time, Cecilia Skingsley, the move by the central bank was new, innovative and trailblazing. Skingsley had said that the lack of cash transactions in the country had become a major issue for the government and other central banks as well. But though e-Krona seems a seemingly simple step-up from note and coins version, there is an entire gamut of issues and frameworks which have to be developed. The challenge was in making these new laws since there was no other such precedent available in this regard. Secondly, the central bank would launch a new process and all of this would take time.
While 2009 marked 40% less use of physical Krona in the country, 2018 reported that over the next couple of years this would fall further to nearly 50%. The issue in Sweden is getting to be larger and more difficult. This is because many of the banks in some regions have already stopped handling physical cash payments thereby placing the entire banking system under pressure. Certain sections of the population such as senior citizens as well as those with disabilities were finding it a very big challenge to use digital solutions offered an alternative by the government.
Contrary to central banks in most other nations, such as India, urging its population to switch to e-banking systems and digital payment options, Riksbank has had to subsidize cash use, lowering banking charges for cash transactions. At the same time the head of the central bank, Stefan Ingves has confirmed that e-krona project is under continual development and evolution and is part of the larger digital payment services the country is adopting. The government has confirmed that there are certain issues such as power outages which could upset electronic payment systems.