60 seconds with Sveriges Riksbank’s senior economist on the potential of CBDC

15 Apr 2021

Ahead of Open Banking Expo’s inaugural CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) virtual event on 28 April, we caught up with event speaker Johan Schmalholz, senior economist at Sveriges Riksbank, who is currently acting as a payments advisor at the e-krona division of Sveriges Riksbank, on why this digital payments phenomenon is “on every central banker’s radar”.

  1. Where do you see the future of retail/wholesale CBDC?

CBDC has transformed from being a theoretical construction, to gain acceptance and, in some cases, become reality (Bahamas). The topic is on almost every central bank’s radar and there will probably be several new CBDC initiatives in the near future.

  1. What is the one thing people should take away from this event?

Hopefully the audience will gain insights and understanding into the ongoing development of CBDC and I would be glad if I could shed some light on the findings from the first phase of the Riksbank e-krona pilot/proof of concept.

  1. What are the most exciting potential benefits of CBDC and where do you see digital currencies really making a difference?

A wholesale CBDC has the potential to increase speed and efficiency in the financial system e.g. delivery versus payment. A retail CBDC would bring continuation to the role of the central bank in providing central bank money to the public, promote competition and act as a resilient solution.

  1. Do you think society will move away from fiat currency?

The concept of cryptocurrencies Diem (Libra) has been an eye opener, as it challenges fundamental principles in a world of independent state of nations. However, from a central banker’s perspective it’s very hard to see a world moving away from fiat currency.

  1. How much of your day-to-day role involves work or conversations around CBDC?

I’m working full time with the topic of retail CBDC.

  1. In your work to date, what has been the main challenge of CBDC and how do you see this changing?

The main challenge is that CBDC is a new phenomenon that raises new questions where there are no obvious answers.

You can register for your free place at this event HERE