Bank of Canada says digital dollar ‘beyond trial phase’

The governor of the Bank of Canada has said plans for a national digital currency have now moved beyond the trial phase, according to press reports.

Canadian central bank Governor Tiff Macklem said the project had moved beyond proof-of-concept and was approaching being ready for a wider rollout, Reuters reported. The bank is currently working alongside counterparts from across the G7 nations to develop central bank digital currencies.

However, he tempered expectations of an immediate launch by suggesting there is currently no need for a central bank digital currency in Canada. Nevertheless, Macklem said the bank was keen to avoid losing out to other nations in launching a digital currency.

“If another country has [a central bank digital currency] and we don’t, that could certainly create some problems. We certainly wouldn’t want to be surprised by some other country.”

“Currencies move across borders, and so we certainly wouldn’t want to be surprised by some other country. It will be important for us to share information on what each of us is doing, is planning on and on the timeline that we might do it on,” he noted.

The comments come at a time of rapid progress globally towards the development and launch of central bank digital currencies. Central banks across the G7 have been working on joint initiatives and sharing understanding about CBDCs, with numerous other major central banks known to be undertaking similar work.

With the Bank of Canada now at a stage of advanced trials, it joins the ranks of other central banks worldwide in having made significant progress towards the launch of a CBDC.

The People’s Bank of China is reported to be at advanced stages with its digital yuan, with several large-scale trials having already been conducted in local populations across China.

The Bahamas has already successfully launched its digital currency, known as the “sand dollar,” with a view to helping improve access to the financial system for underserved communities.

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