Money, as we know it, is changing. The use of cash is at a historical low. Most money in circulation is account money, created by the banks. In Norway, cash is no longer king. The share of cash is at 1,6 percent, making it one of the most cashless societies in the world. The low use of cash could challenge the freedom to choose using cash, which is still the most inclusive form of money we have.
At the same time, both cash and traditional, electronic money is challenged by new forms of privately issued money. On one side, we see the rise of decentraliced cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, for which no judicial entity holds the responsibility. On the other side, big tech companies are launching their own, internal units of money, such as Amazon Coin. If the private currencies become widespread, the opportunity to enforce monetary policies may be threatened, and the risk of financial instabilities may increase.
The Norwegian Central Bank, like most central banks worldwide, is now investigating whether, and how a central bank digital currency should be issued, available to the consumer market. Such an «e-krone» could increase resilience, financial inclusion and competition in the financial markets. At the same time, it could, depending on its design, increase the interest rates for loans offered by banks, increase the risk of bank runs, and potentially end the possibility of anonymous payments.
The goal of this project is to get the political debate on central bank digital currencies going, and contribute to the discussion of important principles, such as privacy.
- Open, digital meeting explaining central bank digital currencies (planned May 2022)
- Short publication about central bank digital currencies (planned May 2022)