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

The 2021–22 Merchant Acceptance Survey Pilot Study

Staff Discussion Paper 2023-1 Angelika Welte, Joy Wu
The rise in digital payment innovations has spurred a discussion about the future of cash at the point of sale. The Bank conducted the 2021–22 Merchant Acceptance Survey Pilot Study to study trends in merchant cash acceptance and monitor conditions for the potential issuance of a central bank digital currency.

2021 Methods-of-Payment Survey Report

Staff Discussion Paper 2022-23 Christopher Henry, Matthew Shimoda, Julia Zhu
We present results from the 2021 Methods-of-Payment Survey, including updated payment shares. We highlight long-term trends and provide additional context for results with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Improving the Efficiency of Payments Systems Using Quantum Computing

We develop an algorithm and run it on a hybrid quantum annealing solver to find an ordering of payments that reduces the amount of system liquidity necessary without substantially increasing payment delays.

Potential benefits and key risks of fiat-referenced cryptoassets

Staff Analytical Note 2022-20 Hugh Ding, Natasha Khan, Bena Lands, Cameron MacDonald, Laura Zhao
Cryptoassets that reference a national currency (commonly known as stablecoins) aim to peg their value to the reference currency and typically use a reserve of traditional financial assets to maintain the peg. The market value of these fiat-referenced cryptoassets has grown more than thirtyfold between early 2020 and mid-2022. We explore some of their potential benefits and key risks.

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