May 13, 2014 Given technological advances and the widespread use of the Internet, various digital currencies have emerged. In most cases, Internet platforms such as Facebook and Amazon restrict the functionality of their digital currencies to enhance the business model and maximize their profits. While platform-based digital currencies could increase the efficiency of retail payments, they could also raise some important policy issues if they were to become widely used outside of the platform. Thus, it is important to closely monitor the evolution of these digital currencies.
The authors review recent developments in retail payments in Canada and elsewhere, with a focus on e-money products, and assess their potential public policy implications.