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In a panel discussion on the future of money Wednesday, deputy governor Timothy Lane said the pandemic was speeding up Canadians’ use of e-commerce and electronic financial transactions. (Reuters)

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Talking point: In February, Lane told The Logic the bank didn’t see an immediate need for a digital currency. On Wednesday, he said the shift to online during the pandemic meant the bank needed to step up its timeline, too. “This is all looking a lot more urgent because of the speed with which technology is evolving,” said Lane. His comments come one day after G7 finance ministers announced that no global stablecoin should be permitted without regulation. Canada is not the only country to step up its digital-currency efforts in light of the pandemic. Japan and the European Central Bank are both accelerating their efforts. In terms of next steps for Canada, Lane said the Bank of Canada would need to consult banks, financial institutions and tech firms on a potential coin.

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Lai’s two sons and four of his executives were also arrested as part of a nearly nine-hour raid by over 200 police officers on the offices of his Apple Daily newspaper. (South China Morning Post)

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Talking point: Lai, who has been arrested twice before, is the highest-profile person arrested under the new law, which came into force 40 days ago. The billionaire—an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping—is accused of colluding with foreign powers. His arrest comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing are growing. Last week, the U.S. imposed sanctions on 11 Hong Kong officials; China responded Monday with an equal number on U.S. officials. Stock in Lai’s company closed up 183 per cent as some investors sought to show their support financially. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong also released a statement calling the newsroom raid a “direct assault” on press freedom.

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Several American conglomerates will join local Chinese businesses in the city of Xiong’an in trialling the People’s Bank of China’s new digital currency. The bank began a rollout of the currency in four cities last week, and instructed government workers to download an app that will act as a wallet for the currency. (South China Morning Post, The Wall Street Journal)

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Talking point: With its digital currency/electronic payment (DCEP), which will likely be among the first government-backed digital currencies, China seeks to curb illegal activity and appeal to those younger demographics weaned on a largely cashless society. Tests of the DCEP were accelerated in the wake of Libra, Facebook’s proposed digital currency, suggesting China also wants to beat the social media giant to market.

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The federal antitrust watchdog’s strategic vision for 2020 to 2024 includes using advanced analytics and AI to “detect potential anti-competitive activity earlier,” and setting up a dedicated office to support its adoption of technology. It will continue to focus on the telecommunications, health and infrastructure sectors, as announced in its annual plan for the current fiscal year, as well as online marketing and financial services. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This agenda reflects the growing emphasis on technology files in the agency’s proactive enforcement efforts. In July 2019, it hired industry executive George McDonald as chief digital enforcement officer; that September, it started filling up his inbox by soliciting reports of anti-competitive behaviour in areas like social media, search and e-commerce. But most tech giants’ mega-acquisitions and deals that increase their market share or reach occur outside Canada, and domestic regulators have limited power over them. Competition commissioner Matthew Boswell has emphasized the need for international cooperation, and to that end, the bureau will host an annual digital enforcement summit.