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World Bank President appears unfazed by transition towards a Cashless Society

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Leading financial executives do not appear concerned by the prospects of a cashless society. Among them is Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank Group.

Rebel News attempted to ask Banga on the transition towards digital forms of payment, including central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). He did not directly answer the question.

“That goes back to my prior life; not today,” he said. “You should ask the CEOs of the cash payment companies.”

Rebel cited the example of frozen bank accounts in Canada for ‘political reasons’ following the 2022 Freedom Convoy, but Banga did not respond.

While the Bank of Canada has clarified that CBDCs are nothing more than a digital version of the national currency, The National Telegraph warned CBDCs can have built-in controls to discriminate taxpayers on any category deemed by the government. 

But 85% of nearly 90,000 Canadians polled by the central bank have made it clear they would not use the digital dollar if it became available. Only 12% said they would “potentially” use it, whereas the other 3% said they didn’t know.

Practically speaking, the implementation of a central bank digital currency “could be challenging” as most Canadians access several methods of payment, according to the report Unmet Payment Needs And A Central Bank Digital Currency. Most adults (98%) own a bank account and debit card, while 87% possess at least one credit card, it said.

Last May 8, the Bank of Canada launched public consultations on the ‘usefulness’ of digital currencies, only to conclude on August 10 that a government-issued digital currency would only feasible if most Canadians requested the option.

Many Canadians “dislike using technology and are therefore reluctant to make payments online” as digital transactions leave a trail. An estimated 11% of people with internet access refuse to bank online, and 16% do not shop online, said Payment Needs.

But in filings last December 13 and 19, the Bank of Canada asserted ownership of “digital dollar,” “digital Canadian dollar” and “central bank digital currency” in both official languages under the Trademarks Act. They provided no reason at the time.

Although cash transactions fell 53% since the onset of COVID, debit and credit card usage rose 20% and 31%, respectively.

Forty-three percent of Canadians agree the COVID pandemic changed their payment preferences to digital and contactless for the long term, unchanged from last year.

Young Canadians (18–34) generally viewed digital ID positively, with nearly half (49%) endorsing the idea. However, many older and low-income people still rely on cash transactions.

Regardless of the interest in digital currencies, the Bank of Canada pledged not to phase out cash. “Cash isn’t going anywhere,” it said.

“Whether and when a digital dollar will become needed is uncertain,” reiterated the central bank last November 29. “Ultimately the decision to go ahead with a digital dollar belongs to Canadians through their representatives in Parliament.”

Payment Needs estimated “only about 14 percent” have abandoned cash purchases. “About half of these people still carry some cash, presumably as a precaution.”

A 2020 Cash Alternative Survey said the typical Canadian carries $70 in their wallet, mainly $5 and $10 bills, and keeps roughly $185 in their vehicle glove box or dresser drawer.



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