Stefan Ingves: Do we need an e-krona?

Speech by Mr Stefan Ingves, Governor of the Sveriges Riksbank and Chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, at the Swedish House of Finance, Stockholm, 8 December 2017.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
23 January 2018
PDF version
 |  6 pages

Do we need an e-krona?

Do we need digital cash - an e-krona as the Riksbank calls it? This is a question currently being analysed and subjected to lively debate in the central bank world. It is scarcely surprising that there is so much interest in this question, given that it covers all of a central bank's areas of activity - the responsibility for a safe and efficient payment market, monetary policy and the task of maintaining financial stability. The question also touches on almost philosophical musings as to why the need for central banks arose once upon a time. What was then needed was a public institution that created a standard method of payment that the general public could rely on. Several centuries have passed since then, but the same need probably remains. This is why the Riksbank wants to investigate whether an e-krona could be the solution to provide the general public with continued access to central bank money even when Sweden has stopped using cash. 

Banknotes and coins abandoned

Various agents in society are approaching the subject of digital money from slightly different perspectives. In the central bank world, some have focused on the opportunities that technological innovations in the financial sector, particularly block chain technology, can offer the payment infrastructure. Others, particularly in emerging economies, regard digital central bank money as an opportunity to supply fundamental payment services to those people who do not yet have access to them.