Mitchell Nicholson is an economist in Economic Research and Analysis Division of the Currency Department. Mitchell obtained a B.A. in Economics and a B.Sc in Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario. He also graduated with a M.A. in Economics from the University of British Columbia. His primary research interests include the institutional structure and regulatory policies surrounding cryptocurrencies. He is also interested in researching Canadians' use of cash and the rationale for central banks to issue central bank digital currencies.
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.
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.