Business

Erik Gibbs

The Swedes are giving up on cash, moving to crypto

While some individuals still don’t understand the role cryptocurrency has in a global economy, there are more and more signs showing how crypto is gaining a larger market share. This trend is only going to continue and substantially more adoption is expected in 2019. An entire country seems to be prepared to make the jump into digital currency and is forecast to see a drastic reduction in cash usage within seven years.

According to a report by the New York Times, half of the retailers in Sweden could quit receiving cash before 2026 rolls around. The country is already testing a state-backed digital currency (SBDC), the e-krona, which is being managed by Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank.

The SBDC could pave the way for Sweden to become completely free of cash within a decade. The governor of Riksbank, Stefan Ingves, asserts, “When you are where we are, it would be wrong to sit back with our arms crossed, doing nothing, and then just take note of the fact that cash has disappeared. You can’t turn back time, but you do have to find a way to deal with change.”

Cash is dying in the country. The people know it and the government knows it. They believe it to be on a course toward dissolution that can’t be stopped, which is why a number of businesses and individuals have already begun to make the permanent switch to digital currencies.

While that trend will continue, no one expects the landscape to change overnight. There are still a number of reasons why cash may have to be used, but those reasons are being addressed. As it happens, though, some caution that the country needs to ensure that it considers all the implications of a cash-free society. Mats Dillén, an economist and head of a Parliament committee studying the financial landscape in the country, states, “We need to pause and think about whether this is good or bad, and not just sit back and let it happen. If cash disappears, that would be a big change, with major implications for society and the economy.”

Sweden isn’t the only country going through this evolutionary cycle. The Marshall Islands are set to introduce a digital currency that would be legal tender, and several Asian countries are also experiencing substantial crypto adoption. Cash is becoming more of a rarity in Japan and South Korea, as digital payment networks become mainstream in the countries.

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