With cash usage dwindling in Sweden, the Riksbank started a project in the spring of 2017 to examine the scope for the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that could ensure that the general public will still have access to a state-guaranteed means of payment.
The Riksbank has implemented a public procurement of a technology supplier to the e-krona pilot project and intends to sign an agreement with consulting company Accenture. The primary objective of the e-krona pilot project is to broaden the bank’s understanding of the technological possibilities for the e-krona.
„The assignment entails producing a solution as to how an e-krona could function in a test environment. During the first year of the e-krona pilot project, a technical platform will be developed with a user interface that enables, for instance, payment with the e-krona from a mobile phone, a card and a watch. The platform will also contain simulations of payment service providers, retail outlets and other parts of the Swedish payment system.”, according to a press release.
The assignment will run to 31 December 2020, with a possibility for extension so that the total maximum period of agreement will be seven years. If the Riksbank chooses to extend the e-krona pilot project, the e-krona will be further developed with increased functions and further tests. The Riksbank has not yet taken a decision to issue an e-krona.
The public procurement resulted in eleven requests to participate, from which the Riksbank selected three suppliers who were invited to present tenders. The winning supplier offers the best balance of price and quality. The Riksbank intends to sign an agreement before the end of the year.
„Though Libra has met with fierce resistance from central banks and supervisory authorities and might never see the light of day, in many other cases tech firms (both start-ups and established big players) have successfully captured bits and pieces of universal banks’ traditional value chain. This trend may only intensify in the coming years. In this environment, European banks remain squeezed.”