For the first time in its history, the Swedish Enforcement Authority, the government agency that collects taxes, has allowed a Swedish company to settle a debt via bitcoin. The debtor, whose identity was not made public, transferred 0.6 bitcoin to the agency, a sum that will be sold off in an auction that starts today. Johannes Paulson, an operations developer with the Enforcement Authority, explained that while the agency has tried unsuccessfully to confiscate bitcoin from criminals in the past, the unnamed company’s cooperation made this the first instance in which the government body successfully gained possession of the virtual currency.
Some in the Swedish press are speculating that this could open the door for members of the public to follow suit by offering the agency bitcoin in place of fiat currency.
Among the nations of the world, Sweden has made some of the most significant strides towards becoming a cashless society. Already, certain stores refuse to accept hard currency and many bank locations no longer handle cash.
The Swedish government has previously signaled a degree of interest in blockchain technology. In 2016, one of its agencies collaborated with several private sector partners to develop a proof of concept for a blockchain-based land title platform.