Among the many races the pandemic has accelerated, none is so pointless as the issuance of central-bank digital currencies. The Canadian government, which should know better, has jumped into the fray despite earlier opposition.
Reversing comments made in February 2020, Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane now believes state involvement in cryptocurrencies is a pressing matter. Along with its G7 partners, Canada has been exploring central-bank digital currencies since 2017 but the race suddenly sped up in mid-October.
The G7 countries claim to be getting ready in case another government or company issues a similar product. On the one hand, they believe private cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra pose a threat to their monetary-policy control. On the other, they view China’s push to issue a central-bank digital currency as a threat to national security.