Comparing private and government currency circulation in Sweden, US and Canada…

Superb paper by Ben Fung, Scott Hendry, Warren E. Weber (Bank of Canada).

It looks at this history of currency circulation in Sweden and compares it with Canada and US. Just to put things in perspective, in Sweden government currency preceded private currency. Whereas in Canada and US, private notes came before government. They also try and figure what do these experiences mean for digital currencies:

This paper examines the experience of Sweden with government notes and private bank notes to determine how well the Swedish experience corresponds to that of Canada and the United States. Sweden is important to study because it has had government notes in circulation for more than 350 years, and it had government notes before private bank notes. Several differences between the experience of Sweden and that of Canada and the U.S. emerge. (i) Swedish bank notes were safe; in some cases, those of Canada and the U.S. were not. (ii) At certain times, Swedish government notes were not safe; government notes in Canada and the U.S. always were. (iii) Swedish private bank notes were a uniform currency without government intervention. Uniformity required government intervention in Canada and the U.S. (iv) Private notes and government notes coexisted in all three countries until governments took actions to drive private bank notes out of circulation. Using the experience of the three countries, the paper concludes that fiduciary digital currencies will likewise not be perfectly safe without government intervention. Further, the introduction of government digital currency will not drive out existing private digital currencies nor will it preclude private digital currencies from entering the market. Government intervention likely will be required for private and government digital currencies to be a uniform currency.

How much one learns from these papers…

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