In brief

  • Sweden's central bank is trialling a CBDC.
  • It'll be tested on "simulated users". The bank has not yet indicated that it plans to issue one.
  • Sweden follows in the footsteps of other countries who've trialled CBDCs, such as Cambodia.

Sweden’s central bank today announced it is testing an e-krona based on blockchain. The e-krona, which the bank is developing in partnership with professional services firm Accenture, is aimed at everyday users.

In a statement, the Riksbank noted that doesn’t mean that it has plans to issue an e-krona, nor is it an indication of how an e-krona might be designed, or what technology it would be based on. “The main purpose of the pilot is for the Riksbank to increase its knowledge of a central bank digital krona,” it wrote in a statement. 

Sweden’s central bank digital currency will also not be issued to the public, or indeed anyone with a soul. Instead, “simulated users” will be able to hold it in a digital wallet, and can use the e-krona to make payments, deposits, and withdrawals via a mobile app. Sending money is as easy as sending a text, it wrote on its website.

Simulated and potential users alike might be interested to learn that the pilot project runs until February 2021, whereafter the bank will make the decision whether to build an e-krona on the technology. Sweden first conceptualized an e-krona in September 2017, months before Bitcoin’s price peaked at $20,000. 

The simulated pilot lags behind other countries, such as Senegal, Cambodia, and the Bahamas, who’ve begun testing CBDCs with real people. Cambodia’s been piloting its CBDC since July, and anyone who has a Cambodian phone number can join, Makoto Takemiya, co-founder of Soramitsu, the vendor that created the blockchain platform for Cambodia’s CBDC, told Decrypt

Still, with Sweden’s GDP almost 10 times the size of the combined GDP of Senegal, Cambodia, and the Bahamas, according to World Bank data, the conclusions of the pilot study might have a greater impact on the global economy.