Norges Bank

Frequently asked questions about CBDC

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about central bank digital currency.

Do we need a CBDC?

The purpose of Norges Bank’s CBDC study is to assess whether introducing a CBDC could promote a secure and efficient payment system in the future based on the Norwegian unit of account, NOK (Norwegian Kroner). The introduction of a CBDC could facilitate the development of new, efficient and attractive payment services by establishing an infrastructure with characteristics that differ from those of current payment and account management systems. This could also improve payment contingency arrangements. 

Norges Bank will have an assessment on whether a CBDC should be introduced by the end of 2025. 

Is a CBDC a form of cryptocurrency?

No. A CBDC would be issued by a central bank in the official unit of account, with its value guaranteed by the state in that country. Cryptocurrencies are issued privately and often without a key participant to guarantee their value. However, technologies upon which CBDC may be designed, could share a number of characteristics with technologies upon which many cryptocurrencies are based. Blockchain, on which Bitcoin is also based, is one of the technologies being tested in the Norwegian CBDC study. 

Has a decision been made to introduce a CBDC?

No. The introduction of a CBDC in Norway will require a number of legislative amendments and these require political anchoring in the Storting (the Norwegian parliament). Norges Bank’s study on CBDCs will result in an evaluation that provides the base for a recommendation as to whether a CBDC should be introduced, as well as a possible design. The final decision on whether to introduce a CBDC depends i.e on legislative amendments, that may still be distant in time. 

Will CBDCs replace cash?

No. Norges Bank assumes that physical cash will continue to circulate in parallel with a CBDC. Cash has some characteristics that electronic payment instruments do not share and that contribute to an efficient payment system. For example, some persons do not have access to, or have problems using electronic payment instruments. In an efficient payment system, such groups must also be able to make payments in a satisfactory manner, by using cash, for example. It is banks' responsibility to ensure that cash is available to the public. Norges Bank's task is to meet banks' demand for cash. 

Can CBDCs be used for monitoring?

Any electronic payment will leave digital traces that in some cases can be used for monitoring. Like other central banks, Norges Bank is not tasked with monitoring payments made by individuals. Many central banks have therefore already decided that they will not have access to information about individual customers' CBDC payments or holdings. Norges Bank’s analyses assume that this will be the path also for Norges Bank. As with other forms of payment, it will be necessary to ensure that relevant rules are complied with, for example anti-money laundering rules. 

Can CBDCs be used for payments to and from other countries?

Norges Bank is currently looking into this. Norges Bank, together with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the central banks in Sweden and Israel, has already devised and tested a prototype for cross-border payments. In the long term, a CBDC may make it cheaper and more efficient to send money across national borders, but there are still many issues that need to be clarified before such payment solutions are introduced. 

How do I obtain a CBDC?

It is too early to be specific on this, but Norges Bank assumes that a CBDC would be available as a means of payment on the most common payment platforms and that it would be simple to transfer money between a bank account and a CBDC wallet.

Can a CBDC be used in an instant payment solution, such as Norway’s “Vipps”?

It is too early to say on which payment platforms a CBDC would be available, but the idea is that CBDCs can also be used for simple person-to-person payments via, for example, mobile phones.

Will my CBDC holdings earn interest?

Norges Bank has not decided on whether CBDC holdings should earn interest.

Will it be easier to hold savings in a CBDC than in a savings account at a bank?

The purpose of a potential CBDC will be payment and not to be used towards saving/store of value. Norges Bank and many other central banks have assessed, for financial stability considerations, setting amount limits on CBDC holdings.