Sweden is closer to becoming the world’s first cashless society. A research note that was written by James Pomeroy, who is an HSBC economist, says;
“The so-called e-Krona will have to be able to be used for small purchases, as a claim on the Riksbank and be accessible by companies, individuals and financial institutions at all times.”
The governor of the Riksbank is very eager to point out that;
“It was in Stockholm that the first modern banknote was created more than 350 years ago, and that it is here, in Sweden, that cash is currently taking its last breathes. Perhaps the Riksbank will be writing history again.”
The e-Krona would work by having it work like cash does, but instead, the value would be stored on an app or card, as opposed to a central database. Alternatively, it could be in a registry based system, where the e-Krona would be stored in a centralised database.
Cryptocurrencies offer protection against scrutiny; something that cash payments do not, which gives customers the security that their private information is not being gathered and subsequently sold by third parties. Cashless societies face the problem that every transaction can be tracked, and details of your personal life can easily be discovered. However; this is where certain cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin really come into their own.
Cryptocurrencies provide anonymity, and James Pomeroy notes that Riksbank has;
“…issued a number of research articles on the topic, with the suggestion being that as cash usage continues to dwindle, the central bank may need to find another way to provide their populations with access to payments that are not via an intermediary such as a retail bank.”
The banks realise that centralised intermediaries may not actually be in the best interest of their customers, as well as realising that their future may be threatened unless they adapt and keep apace with the rapid financial developments.