Public sentiment surrounding central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) has come under scrutiny in recent surveys conducted in Canada and the UK. Recent surveys conducted in the UK by Trezor, a hardware wallet manufacturer, and in Canada by financial news site WealthRocket, shed light on public attitudes toward CBDCs in each nation.
While the surveys approached the topic differently, they arrived at similar conclusions, indicating widespread apprehension about the implications of CBDCs.
The survey conducted by Trezor in the UK revealed that a majority of Brits expressed concerns about granting authorities control over their funds.
Furthermore, 67% of respondents were troubled by the possibility that CBDCs could expire, causing funds to vanish if not spent. The survey highlighted worries about the control governments would exert over the types of goods and services that could be purchased using CBDCs.
Similarly, a survey conducted by financial news site WealthRocket in Canada found that 39% of respondents expressed concerns about the potential loss of control over their finances with the introduction of a CBDC.
The study also identified concerns related to fraud, cyber attacks, and the potential phasing out of cash. Notably, the least common concern among Canadians was the idea of a digital dollar rivaling cryptocurrencies.
The response from the Canadian users showed that 59% of the 1,500 surveyed were willing to use a CBDC for payments, while 25% expressed no willingness at all.
These surveys come as public comment periods for CBDCs conclude in both countries. The Bank of England’s Consultation Paper on CBDCs and Canada’s consultation period recently closed, allowing citizens to express their opinions on the matter.
While the Bank of Canada has no immediate plans to issue a CBDC, it continues to explore the technology in case of future parliamentary requests. In the UK, the Bank of England and HM Treasury have been investigating the possibility of a digital pound since 2021, although a consensus on pursuing a CBDC has not been reached.
The surveys’ findings align with previous research from the Cato Institute, which indicated that only 16% of Americans support the adoption of a CBDC, with greater opposition among Republicans than Democrats. JPMorgan and other Too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks perceive CBDCs as a government-backed threat to their business operations.
As discussions surrounding CBDCs continue, it becomes evident that there is a need for comprehensive public debates to address citizens’ concerns. The surveys emphasize the importance of engaging ordinary people in these discussions and considering their viewpoints before moving forward with the rollout of CBDCs.