Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane delivers a keynote at the Ottawa Board of Trade in Ottawa, on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane delivers a keynote at the Ottawa Board of Trade in Ottawa, on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Bank of Canada digital currency would be greener than Bitcoin, deputy says

Elon Musk said that Tesla would suspend vehicle purchases using Bitcoin out of environmental concern

A senior official at the Bank of Canada says any digital currency the central bank may offer in the future would be more environmentally friendly than Bitcoin and other rivals.

Deputy governor Timothy Lane said Wedneday that the central bank has looked at the environmental impacts as part of its research into creating its own digital offering.

Mining Bitcoin consumes more energy annually than some countries like the Netherlands, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, as computers around the world solve complex mathematical equations to unearth one of the finite digital coins.

Those same computers are also running around the world to update Bitcoin’s decentralized ledger so transactions can happen as easily as two people exchanging a loonie.

Lane argued that energy-intensive process is integral to public’s trust in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

He said the central bank wouldn’t need to build a similar kind of trust in a possible digital currency because Canadians already trust the Bank of Canada and the bills it prints.

“Clearly, there’s a high degree of public trust in what we’re offering, and so when we think about a central bank digital currency, that trust is an important thing we’re bringing to the table,” Lane said on a panel hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“That, of course, means that we wouldn’t have to rely on those environmentally, very wasteful methods of mining technologies that we’ve seen with cryptocurrencies.”

Lane’s fellow panelists noted that there is a push to use more clean, renewable energy in the mining of Bitcoin.

Two weeks ago, one of the most prominent investors, Elon Musk, said in a statement that his company Tesla would suspend vehicle purchases using Bitcoin out of concern for the increasing use of fossil fuels, particularly coal, for mining and transactions.

On Monday, Musk tweeted that he had spoken with Bitcoin miners in North America to publish their current and planned usage of renewable energy and ask their counterparts worldwide to do the same.

“You can substitute clean energy for the dirty energy, but of course, clean energy also has other uses,” Lane said. “If you use an extra gigawatt of clean energy to mine Bitcoins, that’s a gigawatt less that is being used to for some useful purpose.”

And while there is a cost and impact from printing polymer bank notes, Lane said it is a fraction of the value of the bill itself being exchanged across Canada.

The day those bills are no longer considered king for everyday transactions and replaced by privately backed cryptocurrencies is when the central bank expects it would have to step in with its own digital currency.

But first it would need authority from Parliament to do so. Lane said the bank doesn’t yet see a need for it to offer its own digital currency.

The Bank of Canada has been working on what it is calling a “digital loonie” for some time, and now looking at the what attributes it should have and how it would connect with the rest of the financial system, Lane said.

The central bank’s latest review of the risks to the country’s financial system included a section on cryptoassets, whose market capitalization jumped from US$200 billion at the start of 2020 to now over US$2 trillion as average investors were able to start buying exchange-traded funds holding Bitcoin and Ethereum, among other cryptocurrencies.

While cryptocurrencies and funds have a small footprint in markets and daily transactions in Canada, the bank noted a risk about the potential for wide adoption of private “stablecoins,” named so because their value is less volatile.

The review said their adoption could make it difficult for the Bank of Canada to keep inflation on target and act as a lender of last resort, unless they were “backed exclusively by Canadian dollars.”

READ MORE: Bank of Canada warns of rising risks from household debt, and a hot housing market

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

cryptocurrencyeconomy

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read