Canada’s central bank asks citizens what they want in a digital dollar

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Canadians are being asked to submit what features they want to be included in a potential digital Canadian dollar, with the country’s central bank opening a consultation to the public.

On May 8, the Bank of Canada (BoC) launched a public consultation that will run until June 19, noting it’s exploring a virtual loonie as “the world becomes increasingly digital.”

The BoC’s senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers said in a statement the bank wants to hear what Canadians “value most in the design of a digital dollar” to help it make choices relating to its security and reliability along with ensuring it “meets the needs of Canadians.”

The bank was quick to state that it’s not starting work on a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and wasn’t looking to replace cash if it does.

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

“Cash isn’t going anywhere,” the BoC added. It said, however, that many Canadians could be excluded from the economy in the future if the use of banknotes falls.

If a CBDC was issued, physical notes would still be provided “for those who want them” the bank said.

The BoC also outlined the possibility that cryptocurrencies or foreign CBDCs “could become widely used in Canada.”

It claimed this scenario could compromise the Canadian dollar and “pose a risk to the stability of our financial system.”

Related: Retail CBDCs bring unknown ‘consequences’ to financial system — IMF director

The consultation’s questionnaire asks Canadians a wide range of questions including the payment methods they’ve used in the last month, how often they would potentially use a Canadian CBDC and what design features they wish to see.

It also specifically asks if the survey taker uses or holds cryptocurrencies and features a range of demographic questions about gender, age, education and income.

Canadians are asked as part of the digital dollar consultation if they use or hold crypto. Source: BoC

The BoC said it will publish a report summarizing the consultation “later this year.”

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