Stephen Harper, who served as prime minister of Canada for nine years, says there may be a place for Bitcoin and central bank digital currencies as part of a reserve currency basket to replace the dollar.
In an interview with Jay Martin of Cambridge House investment service at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference today, Harper said the possibility of replacing the US dollar can only come from a major currency such as the euro or the Chinese yuan. He expressed doubts that either would be a viable alternative currency, given the long-term uncertainty about the value of the euro and the “arbitrary measures” the Chinese government would take with regard to the value of the yuan:
“It is difficult to see the alternative to the US dollar as the world’s major reserve currency. Besides gold, Bitcoin, a whole basket of things […] I think you’ll see that the number of things people use as reserves will increase, but the US dollar will still make up the bulk of it. “
The former prime minister added that he thought the central bank’s digital currencies, or CBDCs, were “inevitable” to some extent, but would likely be subject to monetary policy around the world. Harper said he was concerned that central banks would become “ a kind of general banker ” rather than just a financial regulator, something that could affect the rollout of a CBDC:
“Ultimately, if you have a digital currency and the central bank’s goal is to control inflation and create a stable currency and preciousness, then digital currencies are just sort of an evolution of the market,” said Harper. “From a series of what I think are wild experiments regarding the role of central banking, I am very concerned.”
Harper was the Prime Minister of Canada from 2006 to 2015. The adoption of cryptos and blockchain in the country has increased significantly since his departure, with Canada being first regulated crypto exchange in September. According to Timothy Lane, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, so is the bank move along in its development from a CBDC.