Ecuador becomes the first country to roll out its own digital currency
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Ecuador's Sistema de Dinero Electrónico (electronic money system) kicked off in December by allowing qualifying users to set up accounts, and it will begin acting as a real means of transaction this month.
Once the government flips the switch, the South American nation of 16 million will host the first-ever state-run electronic payment system. (Other countries, such as Sweden, use digital currencies widely, but they're not state-sponsored.) But the Ecuadorean government says the scheme is designed to support its dollar-based monetary system, not replace it.