ABBA and CBDC: The Swedish Connection

Dateline: Amsterdam, 8th May 2023.Writing in the Spring 2023 issue of the Journal of Payment Systems and Strategy, the respected payments expert Michael Salmony explores the right ecosystem for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and notes that while financial inclusion is an objective of many central banks exploring CBDCs, “the problem of how to identify people efficiently and reliably will need to be solved before any CBDC can realistically be considered”. He is, as you would expect, wholly correct. And the Swedish central bank, located in the eye of the cashless hurricane, agree.No digital identity, no digital money.ShareIngen digital identitet, inga digitala pengarSweden is often cited in discussions of cashlessness, since it is one of the countries where cash is rarely used. I think is is very useful case study of what happens where there is no national strategy around cash: Cash begins to vanish from the public sphere (because merchants don’t want it and customers don’t bother carrying it, not because of any explicit strategies). However, as the cash drains away, some groups are marginalised and excluded (which is why a strategy is needed). Homeless people may accept cards, but pensioners and refugees can be shut out by a cashless world. Subscribe nowThe main reason why I have always been curious about the Swedish situation is that in Sweden the supporters of cash-free commerce are a broad church, embracing not only banks and law enforcement but the trade unions and the retailers. And, of course, they had a great…ABBA and CBDC: The Swedish Connection