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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Estimating Policy Functions in Payments Systems Using Reinforcement Learning

We demonstrate the ability of reinforcement learning techniques to estimate the best-response functions of banks participating in high-value payments systems—a real-world strategic game of incomplete information.

Eggs in One Basket: Security and Convenience of Digital Currencies

Staff Working Paper 2021-6 Charles M. Kahn, Francisco Rivadeneyra, Tsz-Nga Wong
Digital currencies store balances in anonymous electronic addresses. This paper analyzes the trade-offs between the safety and convenience of aggregating balances in addresses, electronic wallets and banks.

Losing Contact: The Impact of Contactless Payments on Cash Usage

Staff Working Paper 2020-56 Marie-Hélène Felt
Because they mimic desirable features of cash and are typically used for smaller-value transactions, contactless payment cards are a competitive alternative to cash. This study investigates whether contactless credit cards are an important contributor to the decline in the transactional usage of cash, using Canadian panel data between 2010 and 2017.

Safe Payments

In a cashless economy, would the private sector invest in the optimal level of safety in a deposit-based payment system? In general, because of externalities, the answer is no. While the private sector could over- or under-invest in safety, the government can use taxes or subsidies to correct private incentives.

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