Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, recently announced that it has extended an ongoing pilot aimed at creating a digital version of the Swedish krona until 2022.
In combination with professional services firm Accenture, the “e-krona” pilot program was created to address what the Riksbank sees as “the marginalization of cash”:
“The Riksbank sees potential problems with the marginalisation of cash and has therefore initiated a pilot project to develop a proposal for a technical solution for a central bank digital currency, an e-krona that can work as a complement to cash."
The recent announcement states that no decision has been made on how, or even if, the e-krona will be issued. But a brief whitepaper from 2020 details the use of R3’s Corda blockchain — a private distributed ledger created for business and enterprise. Unlike public blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, projects built on Corda will be accessible via invite only.
Central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, are digital currencies issued and overseen solely by the central bank of a given country. Unlike coins on open-source, decentralized, public blockchains, CBDCs don’t pretend to be alternatives to the current fiat system. Rather, they are being devised as a possible safeguard against the spread of digital currencies, acting as a mere digital version of existing national monies.
The pilot program will continue over the course of the coming year and is set to end in February 2022. The recent announcement notes that the testing of offline functionality and onboarding of external participants will be prioritized in the coming months:
“The main aim of the pilot is for the Riksbank to increase its knowledge of a central bank-issued digital krona. The project is now being extended to the end of February 2022. The aim for the coming year is to continue developing the technical solution, with the focus on performance, scalability, testing of off-line functions and bringing external participants into the test environment.”