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Cash is [no longer] king: is an e-krona the answer?: - a de lege ferenda investigation of the Swedish Riksbank's issuing mandate and other legal callenges in relation to economic effects on the payment market
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Commercial and Business Law.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

For the past decades, the Swedish public’s payment habits have changed, where the majority of the public has abandoned the old way of making payments, using cash, and instead opted for more modern payment solutions, digital money. The difference between cash and digital money is that cash is physical and only issued by the Riksbank, whereas digital money is created by and stored on accounts at commercial banks.

The question of what role the state should have on the payment market is an important point of discussion. But it is not categorically a new question; the Swedish government is tackling essentially the same problem today as it has been doing many times before. Today’s problem is to some extent however manifested in a different way. During the 20th century, discussions were held whether or not the Riksbank should have the exclusive right to issue banknotes. It was considered unnecessary, inappropriate and dangerous. The idea that the Riksbank could cover the entire economy’s need for banknotes was, according to the commercial banks, unreasonable. Nonetheless, in 1904 the exclusive right became fait accompli; the government intervened and gave the Riksbank the banknote monopoly. We are now finding ourselves facing a similar situation, where there is a difference of opinion regarding the Riksbank’s role on the payment market. It is therefore nothing new, but rather an expected task for the government, and thus the central bank, to analyze major changes and draw conclusions from them.

The problem is essentially about cash being phased out by digital means of payment. In order to therefore solve the problem, the Riksbank has started a project to investigate whether or not the Riksbank should issue digital cash to the Swedish public, what the Riksbank calls an e-krona. To introduce an e-krona would be a major step, but for the public to not have access to a government alternative, seeing as cash usage is declining, is also a major step. No decision has been made yet regarding whether the e-krona will be introduced on the market or not. A decision that however has been made, is that the Riksbank is now working on building an e-krona to develop and assess the technique. Nonetheless, an introduction would undoubtedly have consequences for both the Riksbank and the commercial banks, which ultimately means it would have effects on the economy as a whole. What about regulatory aspects; is the Riksbank even allowed to issue an e-krona under current legislation? The answer is affirmative, to a certain extent. There are furthermore many other uncertainties regarding how an e-krona would affect the economy; the Riksbank does not fully answer many of the system issues in its project reports. The question of whether or not it even is up to the Riksbank to make a decision on the matter of an introduction is also questioned by the author in the thesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 61
Keywords [en]
E-crown, e-crown project, central bank digital currency, money, cash, banknotes and coins, physical money, tangibles, currency, legal tender, the Swedish Riksbank Act, commercial bank money, digital money, the Swedish Riksbank, central bank, commercial bank, bank, banking law, law, jurisprudence, monetary policy, safe and efficient payment system, cash-provision, economy, the payment system, digitalization, development of society, fractional reserve banking, bank run, zero lower bound
Keywords [sv]
E-krona, e-kronaprojekt, digital centralbankspeng, pengar, kontanter, sedlar och mynt, fysiska pengar, valuta, lagliga betalningsmedel, affärsbankspengar, digitala pengar, Riksbanken, centralbank, affärsbank, bank, bankrätt, juridik, Lag (1988:1385) om Sveriges riksbank, penningpolitik, säkert och effektivt betalningsväsende, kontantförsörjning, ekonomi, betalningssystemet, digitalisering, samhällsutveckling, fractional reserve banking, bankrusning, zero lower bound
National Category
Law and Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-156410ISRN: LIU-IEI-FIL-A--19/02974--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-156410DiVA, id: diva2:1305714
Subject / course
Master Thesis in Commercial and Business Law
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Available from: 2019-04-25 Created: 2019-04-18 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved

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