Gradon is an Economist. He completed his BMath in Statistics at the University of Waterloo, and is currently pursuing an MA in Economics at Carleton University. His research interests include payment choice modelling and two sided markets.
Staff analytical notes
In 2015, the Bank of Canada surveyed merchants and found that cash was nearly universally accepted (Fung, Huynh and Kosse 2017). Since 2015, retail payments in Canada have become increasingly digitalized, as many Canadians have adopted digital payment innovations like contactless cards and Interac e-Transfer.
There was an unusually large decline of bank notes in circulation in October 2018. Some have argued that this was due to the legalization of cannabis in Canada in mid-October.
The results of our 2017 Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (December 12 to 15, 2017) when compared with those from 2016 show that Bitcoin “awareness” increased from 64 to 85 per cent, while ownership increased from 2.9 to 5.0 per cent. Most Bitcoin purchasers are using the cryptocurrency as an investment and not as a means of payment for goods or services.
Staff discussion papers
In this paper, we examine trends in Canadian ownership of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from 2016 to 2020 using data from surveys conducted by the Bank of Canada.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased the demand for cash. Cash in circulation increased sharply from March through December 2020, particularly in the early months of this period. Although use of electronic methods of payment also increased significantly, cash use for payments remains high for low-value transactions and among certain demographic groups.
Using Bank Note Distribution System data on the demand for cash up to September 2020, we find that demand was strong. This is true even though cash use for payments declined early in the pandemic. When mobility restrictions and lockdown measures were eased, cash use for payments increased sharply but remained less popular than electronic methods of payment.
The role of cash in Canadians’ lives has been evolving, as innovations in digital payments have become more widely adopted over the past decade. We contribute to the Bank of Canada’s research on central bank digital currency by monitoring Canadians’ use of cash and their adoption of digital payment methods.
Consumer spending declined significantly during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This negative shock likely reduced spending across all methods of payment (cash, debit, credit, etc.). The mix of payment methods consumers use could also be affected. We study how the pandemic has influenced the demand for and use of cash. We also offer insights into the use of other payment methods, such as debit and credit cards.
The Bank of Canada continues to use the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) to monitor trends in Canadians’ awareness, ownership and use of Bitcoin. The most recent iteration was conducted in late 2018, following an 85 percent decline in the price of Bitcoin throughout the year.
Staff working papers
We construct and estimate a structural two-stage model of equilibrium in a market for payments in order to quantify the network externalities and identify the main determinants of consumer and merchant decisions.
Recent consumer and merchant surveys show a decrease in the use of cash at the point of sale. Increasingly, consumers and merchants have access to a growing array of payment innovations as substitutes for cash.
There has been tremendous discussion of Bitcoin, digital currencies and FinTech. However, there is limited empirical evidence of Bitcoin’s adoption and usage. We propose a methodology to collect a nationally representative sample using the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey (BTCOS) to track the ubiquity and usage of Bitcoin in Canada.