CBDCs: Bank of Canada Introduces Public Consultations on a Digital Dollar

The Bank of Canada is launching an online public consultation on “the features that could be included in a digital Canadian dollar.”

The consultation opened on May 8, 2023 and runs until June 19.

The way Canadians pay for everything from the daily necessities “to major purchases is evolving rapidly.” As the world becomes increasingly digital, the Bank—”like many other central banks—is exploring a digital version of Canada’s national currency.”

Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers said:

“As Canada’s central bank, we want to make sure everyone can always take part in our country’s economy. That means being ready for whatever the future holds.”

At this time, a digital Canadian dollar is “not needed.” And any decision “to issue one rests with Parliament and the Government of Canada.”

A digital Canadian dollar “issued by the Bank would have to be designed to serve Canadians’ needs.” That’s why the Bank is “holding this online consultation: to understand which features are most important to Canadians.” The Bank is also “seeking opinions about topics related to a digital dollar,” such as:

  • how people would likely use it
  • what security features are important
  • what concerns you have about accessibility and privacy

Rogers added:

“We want to hear from Canadians about what they value most in the design of a digital dollar. This will help us make design choices and ensure that it is secure, reliable and meets the needs of Canadians.”

The Bank has been “providing bank notes to Canadians for more than 85 years.”

Cash is considered to be “a safe, accessible and trusted method of payment that anyone can use, including people who don’t have a bank account, a credit score or official identification documents.”

If a digital Canadian dollar is issued in the future, the Bank will “continue to provide bank notes for those who want them. Cash isn’t going anywhere.”

However, there may come a time when bank notes “are not widely used in day-to-day transactions, which could risk excluding many Canadians from taking part in the economy.”

It’s also possible “that private cryptocurrencies or central bank digital currencies issued by other countries could become widely used in Canada in the future.”

This could “compromise the role of an official, centrally issued currency—the Canadian dollar—in our economy and pose a risk to the stability of our financial system.”

A digital Canadian dollar would “ensure Canadians always have an official, safe, and stable digital payment option issued by Canada’s central bank.”

The Bank will “publish a report summarizing this consultation later this year.”

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