CBDC: Bank of Canada moves to trademark digital dollar

CBDC: Bank of Canada moves to trademark digital dollar
CBDC: Bank of Canada moves to trademark digital dollar Courtesy Centre for International Governance Innovation

The Bank of Canada has quietly filed for control over a “digital Canadian dollar” despite public pushback over the idea of using central bank digital currency (CBDC). 

The Bank of Canada has expressed “uncertainty” about the necessity of turning the dollar digital, stating on August 10 it would be “challenging” for Canadians to accept and would “require significant and sustained investment by the central bank” and on November 29 that “ultimately the decision to go ahead with a digital dollar belongs to Canadians through their representatives in Parliament.” 

According to documents obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, the institution filed for complete ownership of any “digital dollar,” “digital Canadian dollar,” or “central bank digital currency” under the Trademarks Act on December 13 and again on December 19. 

The bank offered no reasoning and there was no public hearing to give the green light, due to Section 9 of the Act, which allows any “public authority” to claim exclusive perpetual rights to any phrase without notice or objection. 

Ten years ago, it was not in the Bank of Canada’s interest to “issue another currency,” said then-chief of funds management at Grahame Johnson in 2014 at hearings of the Senate banking committee, after the institution had ordered the Royal Canadian Mint to disband a Bitcoin alternative called MintChip.

At the time, the bank earned $1.6 billion a year from printing and circulating banknotes, according to Blacklocks Reporter. “In terms of digital currency, it is not under the current legal framework,” Johnson said. 

A study by Payment Needs published in November on its website shows 55% of Canadians say “they have no desire to go cashless,” and only 13% have gone completely cashless. The researchers found “about half of these people still carry some cash presumably as a precaution.” 

Further, researchers found 11% of people with internet access refuse to bank online and 16% do not shop online.

“The prospect of cashless stores is a concern for 52% of Canadians,” Payment Needs wrote on its website, yet 49% “think it is likely that Canadian stores will go completely cashless in the next 10 years,” compared to 31% who think it is unlikely. 

“This is primarily due to cash being seen as a reliable, widely accepted, safe and secure payment option that Canadians do not want to live without,” researchers said, concluding a significant number of Canadians “dislike using technology and are therefore reluctant to make payments online.” 

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