Bank of Canada says global approach needed on digital currencies, working with G7

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Bank of Canada is working with its G7 partners on its plans for a digital currency, Governor Tiff Macklem said in an interview, adding a “globally coordinated” approach was needed to prevent suprises and to keep such tools from being used by criminals.

Macklem told Reuters that the central bank was working on moving from proof of concepts to more fully executable plans for a digital loonie but saw no compelling need for one “right now”.

“If another country has one and we don’t, that could certainly create some problems,” said Macklem. “So we want to make sure we’re ready.

“Currencies move across borders, and so we certainly wouldn’t want to be surprised by some other country. It will be important for us to share information on what each of us is doing, is planning on and on the timeline that we might do it on.”

China has been aggressively experimenting with a digital renmimbi as it looks to reduce its dependence on the global dollar payment system. It ran a $1.5 million real-world trial earlier this month.

This, along with efforts by Facebook FB.O to ready its Libra stablecoin offering, prompted seven major central banks to lay out key principles for issuing CBDCs earlier this month.

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Amran Abocar