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Bank of Canada Governor Says Digital Dollar Project Moving Past Trial Stage

Tiff Macklem said Canada's digital dollar initiative is progressing past the experimental phase and the G7 needs to coordinate on digital currencies.

Oct 29, 2020 at 10:13 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:25 a.m. UTC

The chief of Canada's central bank has said its national digital currency initiative is progressing past the experimental phase.

In an interview with Reuters published Thursday, Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor Tiff Macklem said his institution is working with G7 member states on its plans for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The digital dollar project, he said, is now moving beyond the proof-of-concept stage and closer to being ready for launch. However, the governor deflated expectations, saying he thought there isn't a need for one "right now."

Even so, Macklem shared concerns about being outpaced by other countries, adding his institution wants to make sure it's prepared for a CBDC launch if it chooses to head in that direction.

“If another country has [a CBDC] and we don’t, that could certainly create some problems,” Macklem said. "We certainly wouldn’t want to be surprised by some other country."

G7 members should share information on their CBDC plans and timelines, he added.

The G7 includes some of the world's largest developed nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K and the U.S. – as member states, which generally act in unison to address global economic issues.

Some nations outside the Group of Seven have already taken the lead when it comes to digitizing their fiat currencies.

China is already conducting public experiments with its digital yuan, signaling a launch may not be far off. The Bahamas became the first nation to take a CBDC into circulation this month, rolling out its "sand dollar" to increase financial access to underserved communities.

Macklem also said a "globally coordinated" strategy from the member states was required in order to keep digital currencies out of the hands of criminals.

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