Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, has launched the third phase of its e-krona digital currency project, amid a fresh wave of activity by Nordic fintech disruptors.
With digital payment methods continuing to squeeze out cash in Sweden, fintechs operating in this space are emerging as well-resourced and viable non-bank rivals, better equipped to compete for the customers of traditional high-street banks.
The Riksbank’s phase three module, which is being run in collaboration with strategy and technology consultant Accenture, will pilot-test payment, deposit and transfer capabilities for the digital e-krona. Within this exploratory framework, advanced trials will involve simulated users able to hold e-krona in a digital wallet and conduct standard transactions such as payments, deposits and money withdrawals using a mobile app.
A clear objective for the bank will be to establish whether issuing the e-krona to the general public in electronic form is a realistic and achievable prospect. Although the Riksbank supports continued use of cash in the Swedish economy, it recognises the unstoppable force of digitised payments.