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Canada's central bank takes a step towards a digital dollar: Asks citizens for input

Although issuing a digital Canadian dollar is not currently planned, the Canadian populace is being asked what characteristics they would want to see included

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: May 9, 2023 10:00:28 AM IST

Canada's central bank takes a step towards a digital dollar: Asks citizens for inputImage: Chris Wattie / Reuters

The Bank of Canada is surveying Canadians to gauge their interest in a possible transition to a digital currency. The country's central bank claims a national digital currency isn't necessary at the moment, but it plans to keep options open just in case.

When it comes to Canada's economy, the Bank of Canada's stated goal is universal access. In a statement released today, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers stressed the importance of preparing for the future. The bank is preparing for the change by citing factors like the declining use of cash, competition from crypto, and national economic stability.

The release states, "The Bank has been issuing bank notes to Canadians for more than 85 years." People without bank accounts, credit scores, or government-issued identity can nevertheless utilize cash as a trusted payment option. There is a risk that many Canadians will be left out of the economy if the moment comes when bank notes are not often utilized in day-to-day transactions.

The move was presumably spurred by concerns about crypto, which, while less of a threat following last year's dramatic crashes, is still a competitive factor nonetheless. The ability of the Bank of Canada (and the Canadian government) to exert control over the economy, maintain stability, and implement policies could be jeopardized if decentralized currencies were to be utilized on a large enough scale to undermine demand for the Canadian dollar.

The bank argues that Canadians would have an official, secure, and stable digital payment alternative if the Canadian central bank released a digital version of the currency.

Additionally, it was made clear that the issuance of banknotes will continue regardless of whether or not a national digital currency was ever introduced. It asserts categorically that "Cash isn't going anywhere."

The survey is a standard online questionnaire concerning an average Canadian’s potential adoption of digital money, necessary security features, and privacy concerns. Rogers said this would aid in the design process and guarantee that the final product would be safe, dependable, and suitable for all Canadians. The Canadian citizens’ responses "shall be kept anonymous, secret, and disclosed in aggregate only," the bank promises.

The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash

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