Bank of Canada quietly moves forward on digital currency

In filings last December 13 and 19, the Bank of Canada asserted ownership of 'digital dollar,' 'digital Canadian dollar' and 'central bank digital currency' in both official languages under the Trademarks Act. They provided no reason at the time.

Bank of Canada quietly moves forward on digital currency
Jeff Whyte - stock.adobe.com
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The Bank of Canada has walked back previous claims they would not develop a digital currency after records showed it is quietly in development. 

As reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, Canada’s central bank filed for stake ownership of any "digital dollar" launched in Canada under the Trademarks Act.

"Whether and when a digital dollar will become needed is uncertain," they said last November 29. "Ultimately the decision to go ahead with a digital dollar belongs to Canadians through their representatives in Parliament."

Last May 8, the Bank of Canada launched public consultations on the 'usefulness' of digital currencies, asking Canadians about the security and privacy features they would desire for digital currency. The online survey closed on June 19.

"In their public consultation, they mention privacy concerns, but they don't ask a single question about how it would make it easier for them to manipulate monetary policy and control how we spend our money," PPC leader Maxime Bernier told Rebel News.

Last August 10, the central bank concluded that a government-issued digital currency would be 'unnecessary' and only feasible if most Canadians requested the option.

As reported by Blacklock's Reporter, many Canadians "dislike using technology and are therefore reluctant to make payments online" as digital transactions leave a trail. An estimated 11% of people with internet access refuse to Bank online, and 16% do not shop online, said the report Unmet Payment Needs And A Central Bank Digital Currency

"A digital currency will allow the Bank of Canada — a government organization — to know the details of all our transactions," claimed Bernier. "Whether or not the central bank is serious about protecting our privacy, management, and the Government of Canada will have all this centralized information at their disposal if they want to use it." 

"Can we trust them after [Finance Minister Chrsytia] Freeland froze bank accounts during the Freedom Convoy? After they printed hundreds of billions to fund Trudeau's gigantic deficits?" he posed. "No!"

In filings last December 13 and 19, the Bank of Canada asserted ownership of "digital dollar," "digital Canadian dollar" and "central bank digital currency" in both official languages under the Trademarks Act. They provided no reason at the time.

Bank lawyers filed the claims under the Act section 9 which allows any “public authority” to claim exclusive perpetual rights to everyday phrases without notice or objection, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. All other applicants must serve public notice subject to challenge.

Canada’s central bank has perpetually studied digital currency since 2014 when it ordered the Royal Canadian Mint to disband a Bitcoin alternative called MintChip. Grahame Johnson, then-chief of funds management, said the Bank earned $1.6 billion a year from printing and circulating banknotes.

"We couldn’t issue another currency," he testified at 2014 hearings of the Senate Banking Committee. "In terms of digital currency, it is not under the current legal framework."

Practically speaking, the implementation of a central bank digital currency "could be challenging" as most Canadians access several methods of payment, according to Payment NeedsMost adults (98%) own a bank account and debit card, while 87% possess at least one credit card, it said.

From the onset of COVID through 2021, cash transactions fell 53%. Whereas debit and credit card usage rose 20% and 31%, respectively. 

Forty-three percent of Canadians agree the COVID pandemic changed their payment preferences to digital and contactless for the long term, unchanged from last year. 

Young Canadians (18–34) generally viewed digital ID positively, with nearly half (49%) endorsing the idea. However, many older and low-income people still rely on cash transactions.

Regardless of the interest in digital currencies, the Bank of Canada pledged not to phase out cash. "Cash isn't going anywhere," it said.

Payment Needs estimated "only about 14 percent" have abandoned cash purchases. "About half of these people still carry some cash, presumably as a precaution."

A 2020 Cash Alternative Survey said the typical Canadian carries $70 in their wallet, mainly $5 and $10 bills, and keeps roughly $185 in their vehicle glove box or dresser drawer.

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