Cash use for payments has been steadily decreasing in many countries, including Canada and Sweden. This might suggest an evolution toward a cashless society. But in Canada, cash in circulation relative to GDP has been stable for decades and has even increased in recent years. By contrast, the cash-to-GDP ratio in Sweden has been falling steadily. What has caused this difference? Are there lessons to be learned from comparing the Canadian and Swedish experiences?
The use of bank notes in Canada for payments has declined consistently for some time, and similar trends are evident in other countries. This has led some observers to predict a cashless society in the future.
The emergence of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain and distribution ledger technology have attracted significant attention. These developments have raised the possibility of considerable impacts on the financial system and perhaps the wider economy.