As readers know, here at US Coin News I focus on United States currency, but an article today over at Numismatic News points to an interesting development in one of the most heavily dependent electronic transaction countries in the world. The site is reporting that Swedes are being told to hold onto some Kronor in case of an emergency.
The article points out that the central bank of the Nordic country, Sveriges Riksbank, is advising citizens to hold onto small denomination currency coins and notes to assure they can make transactions should the electronic systems fail or be attacked.
The agency suggests every home in Sweden keep a stash of small denomination bank notes in case of technical problems that could arise from a cyber attack, terrorist attack, or war. Nothing was said regarding a government that might want to track how individuals spend their money.Numismatic News
Sweden has been one of the fastest adopting countries of digital transactions. In 2015, the central bank reported that cash transactions accounted for just 2% of all payments and only 20% of retail purchases were made with cash. That is a decline of nearly 50% from 2010. In contrast, studies suggest that here in the United States, 70% of citizens still use cash on a weekly basis to complete transactions.
Like Sweden, as the United States becomes more electronic payment dependent, there is a risk that cash won’t be accepted. We already see small pockets of this throughout the country as smaller businesses find it easier to keep track of electronic payments versus cash payments. We are still likely decades away from this being the case across the country but it does beg the question of what would we do if electronic payment systems went down and we were fully dependent upon it to complete the most basic of transactions.
Clearly the implications for collectors are even greater. Could we eventually see a day where coins are only minted for collectors and not for general circulation?
For sure, Sweden is not backing down from electronic payments but has decided to tap the proverbial brake.