MintChip 2.0? Bank of Canada official hints at government backed digital currency

Hopes of a government-backed digital currency in Canada may have been rekindled following a speech by Carolyn Wilkins, Bank of Canada’s senior

Hopes of a government-backed digital currency in Canada may have been rekindled following a speech by Carolyn Wilkins, Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor, at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

According to a CBC News report, she said the Bank is looking into issuing its own digital currency, “like bitcoin”.

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With regards to today’s cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and altcoins, Wilkins illustrated what would happen should their use become more common than fiat:

“In the very unlikely situation in which cryptocurrencies were used broadly, a significant proportion of economic transactions would not be denominated in Canadian dollars. This would reduce the bank’s ability to influence macroeconomic activity through Canadian interest rates.”

However, she added, “we are nowhere near this point today.”

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Is this MintChip 2.0?

MintChip is a project by the Royal Canadian Mint, with partners from the private sector, aiming to create a digital p2p version of the Canadian dollar. Earlier this year, the Mint said it plans on divesting from the project.

Intuitively, whatever work that has been invested into the MintChip project should be put to good use. One would assume that a new undertaking, should it materialize, should revive the old MintChip project or at least recycle its useful components.

At first glance, this is not the case. There was apparently no mention of MintChip. Also, the indication was that this would be a Bank of Canada initiative, not one from the private sector as was reportedly slated for MintChip.

One can also speculate that there was insufficient interest from the private sector, or the Department of Finance found such a project more appropriate to keep public. Therefore, the government would be looking to start from scratch.

In June, a Royal Canadian Mint spokesman told DC Magnates: “The Mint is currently working with the Department of Finance to explore divestiture options. We are also in the process of completing development of MintChip to package the assets for divestiture.” The spokesman declined to provide details on who in the private sector is interested or any timelines for divestiture.

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