The Federal Council of the Swiss Government has asked for a report on the risk and possibility of introducing a state-supported digital currency, or the so-called “E-franc”
The Federal Council proceeded to examine this subject at the request of the Swiss legislator and vice-president of the Social Democratic Party, Cedric Wermuth. Now the lower house of the Swiss parliament must decide whether to support the Federal Council’s request for research. If the proposal is approved, the Swiss Ministry of Finance will conduct a study on this topic. No time frame for this process has been published. The Council stated:
“The Federal Council is aware of the biggest challenges, both legal and monetary, which would be accompanied by the use of an e-franc. Requests the adoption of a proposal to examine the risks and opportunities associated with e-francs and the legal, economic and financial aspects of e-francs ”
The idea of developing a national cryptocurrency was presented in February by Romeo Lacher, president of the Swiss SIX exchange. He said: “An E-franc under the control of the central bank would trigger many synergies so it would be good for the economy.”
Other traditional financial institutions in the country did not pay attention to the introduction of cryptocurrencies. Swiss central bank board member Andréa Maechler said last month that digital private sector currencies are better and less risky than the national ones because the government’s cryptocurrency may increase the risk of so-called bank operations.
Earlier this month, Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, refused to offer Bitcoin trading and other digital currencies. Bank President Axel Weber appealed for tighter controls of cryptocurrencies, stating that “cryptocurrencies” are often not transparent, and therefore can be abused.
Other countries have also begun to consider the possibility of having a national digital currency. The Swedish Riksbank is investigating whether they should e-check, because the use of physical banknotes in this country is still falling.