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Sweden's central bank to explore digital currency

Updated onsdag 16 november 2016 kl 13.48
Published onsdag 16 november 2016 kl 10.33
Riksbank's deputy governor: Could be a compliment to notes, coins
(2:27 min)
Cecilia Skingsley, deputy governor of the Riksbank, announcing plans to investigate the use of digital currenc
Cecilia Skingsley, deputy governor of the Riksbank, announcing plans to investigate the use of digital currency. Credit: Marko Savala/TT

Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, announced on Wednesday it was looking into whether or not it should issue some form of electronic money, called ekrona, within two years.

There has been a significant decline in the use of cash in Sweden in recent years, with cards accepted almost everywhere and the popularity of apps such as Swish.

On Wednesday, the Riksbank said it will investigate over the next two years whether it could be the first central bank to start issuing so-called ekrona.

“Sweden is very rapidly stopping using notes and coins. For people who do not want to or have any access to commercial banks payment solutions, such as cards, it is important that those people get access to society in the way they are able to make daily payments in shops etc. So this could be a complement to notes and coins," Cecilia Skingsley, deputy governor at Riksbank tells Radio Sweden.

For the past ten years, the amount of cash circulating in Sweden has dropped steadily. A recent survey by the Riksbank fond that only 15 percent of respondents said they had made their most recent payment in cash.

"We really have no one to look at when it comes to how to design it and what are the possible consequence … It’s not an option for us not do anything,” Cecilia Skingsley says to Radio Sweden.

Sweden was the first country to issue paper banknotes in the 1660s.

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