Riksbank, Sweden's reserve bank, recently released a warning that any individual or company claiming to offer e-krona, the country's prospective national cryptocurrency, is running a scam. The statement explains that the e-krona project has yet to be concluded and that the bank has no plans to issue e-krona at this time.
Riksbank says certain websites and social media accounts have claimed that e-kronas are available for purchase. Swedish individuals have also been contacted by companies claiming to sell e-kronas on behalf of Riksbank.
The bank first announced the e-krona project in September 2017, publishing a report outlining the feasibility of introducing a national cryptocurrency and exploring its legal aspects.
More recently, Riksbank published a press release in October 2018 stating that physical cash usage in Sweden was in decline. A survey conducted by the bank in 2018 found that only 13 percent of Swedish citizens used physical money when making a purchase. Even in 2010, the statistic was low: 39 percent.
The declining usage of physical money and the steps taken by Riksbank to investigate the development of a national cryptocurrency suggest that Sweden is moving toward becoming a cashless society. But the question of whether the country's citizens can or even want to be cash-free may influence the pace.
According to a BBC report from April 2018, Swedish citizens showed concerned about the challenges a cashless society poses for vulnerable groups that can't or don't want to give up physical money. Ola Nilsson, a spokesperson for the Swedish National Pensioners' Organization, lobbied against becoming a cashless society on behalf of the organization's 350,000 members.
Cecilia Skingsley, the Deputy Governor of Riksbank, has addressed concerns over what the e-krona would mean for physical money:
"Although it may appear simple at first glance to issue e-krona, this is something entirely new for a central bank and there is no precedent to follow … The Riksbank will continue issuing banknotes and coins as long as there is demand for them in society. It is our statutory duty and we will of course continue to live up to it."
In March 2018, Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves predicted the launch of the e-krona to be three to four years out, according to a European news outlet, The Local.