Business 10 January 2019

Dan Taylor

Sweden’s Riksbank warns of ‘e-krona’ crypto scam

The central bank of Sweden has issued a warning to investors over scammers selling a digital version of the country’s currency, the krona, in the latest example of fraudsters operating within the cryptocurrency sector.

The Riksbank said that it had received reports of companies offering to sell so-called e-kronas, including some firms who were purporting to be selling the currency at the behest of the bank itself. At present, it is in fact not possible to purchase crypto krona, with the bank confirming that “no decision has been taken on issuing e-kronas.”

In a statement published on their website, the bank confirmed that scammers are operating both online and by phone to solicit rogue investment in their scams.

According to the central bank, “…on certain websites and in social media, claims have been made that it is possible to purchase e-kronas. The Riksbank has also been contacted by individuals describing how they have been called by companies claiming to be selling e-kronas on behalf of the Riksbank.”

Investors have been urged to contact the Riksbank if they are offered e-kronas, and not to engage in any transaction for krona-backed cryptocurrencies until further notice.

The e-krona project has been under consideration by the Riksbank and policy makers in Sweden, in light of the dramatic decline in cash usage across the country.

Preferring instead to opt for digital payment systems, physical cash circulation has dwindled by more than 40% since 2009, and the idea of a digital krona has been discussed for several years.

At the time, the bank’s deputy director Cecilia Skingsley said issuing a digital currency still posed challenges for the bank, and described it as a model with ‘no precedent.’

In a keynote at the FinTech Stockholm 2016, Skingsley said, “The declining use of cash in Sweden means that this is more of a burning issue for us than for most other central banks. Although it may appear simple at first glance to issue e-krona, this is something entirely new for a central bank and there is no precedent to follow.”

While the idea may crystalize in due course, for the time being at least, Swedish businesses and citizens are well advised to steer clear of any offers for e-krona.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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