Digital currencies and fintech: research

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Understanding the benefits and risks of digital currencies and electronic payments is important because new technologies and new players could affect the financial system. This in turn could influence how we work to fulfill our core functions. For this reason, we closely monitor fintech developments.

The Bank is conducting research related to a central bank digital currency (CBDC). This is part of its contingency planning to be ready to issue a CBDC in the future if the need were to arise.

Research by Bank staff is produced independently from the Bank’s Governing Council. It may therefore differ from official Bank views. The views expressed in research papers are solely those of the authors. No responsibility for them should be attributed to the Bank.

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Latest research

Cash, COVID-19 and the Prospects for a Canadian Digital Dollar

Staff Discussion Paper 2022-17 Walter Engert, Kim Huynh
We provide an analysis of cash trends in Canada before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also consider the potential two scenarios for issuance of a central bank digital currency in Canada: the emergence of a cashless society or the widespread use of an alternative digital currency in Canada. Finally, we discuss the Canadian experience in maintaining cash as an efficient and accessible method of payment and store of value.

PayTech and the D(ata) N(etwork) A(ctivities) of BigTech Platforms

Staff Working Paper 2022-35 Jonathan Chiu, Thorsten Koeppl
Why do BigTech platforms introduce payment services? We explore this using a model in which a monopoly platform faces a trade-off between the costs associated with privacy concerns and the revenue from data services. We then analyze the feedback effects between data and payments.

Cash in the Pocket, Cash in the Cloud: Cash Holdings of Bitcoin Owners

Staff Working Paper 2022-26 Daniela Balutel, Christopher Henry, Kim Huynh, Marcel Voia
We estimate the effect that owning Bitcoin has on the amount of cash held by Canadian consumers. Our results question the view that adopting certain new technologies, such as Bitcoin, leads to a decline in cash holdings.

Resilience of bank liquidity ratios in the presence of a central bank digital currency

Staff Analytical Note 2022-5 Alissa Gorelova, Bena Lands, Maria teNyenhuis
Could Canadian banks continue to meet their regulatory liquidity requirements after the introduction of a cash-like retail central bank digital currency (CBDC)? We conduct a hypothetical exercise to estimate how a CBDC could affect bank liquidity by increasing the run-off rates of transactional retail deposits under four increasingly severe scenarios.

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