Bank of Canada releases white paper on merits of creating digital currency

CALGARY — The Bank of Canada is considering the merits of establishing a digital currency as interest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin reaches a fevered pitch.In a white paper, the central bank says there are merits to creating a central bank digital currency as society starts to move away from cash, and the bank’s potential to reap profits off issuing that cash could be threatened.The bank says that a digital currency could become an alternative to debit and credit cards and other forms of payment, making it easier for competition to emerge in the retail and large-value payment sectors.Some of the benefits are similar to those espoused by proponents of Bitcoin, Ether, and the myriad of other digital currencies based on cryptography that have emerged in recent years.The value of Bitcoin, the original and most well-known cryptocurrency, has skyrocketed this year, rising from about US$1,000 per coin at the start of the year to crest at over US$11,000 per coin this week.The Bank of Canada report says, however, that given the complexity and uncertainty around the currency, central banks should proceed cautiously and incrementally.

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