The Greatest Show on Earth: Why the world of traditional finance is embracing cryptocurrencies

Today, there are more than 5,000 different cryptocurrencies and other types of digital coins on the market besides bitcoin. There could soon be one more if the head of one of Canada’s smallest banks gets his way. In February, London, Ont.-based Versabank announced plans to launch the “world’s first bank-issued, deposit-based digital currency,” to be known as VCAD. David Taylor, the CEO of Versabank (2020 net income: $19.4 million, or 0.5 per cent of what CIBC, the smallest of the Big Five, earned that year), is no stranger to being a first mover. He launched Canada’s first branchless bank in the early 1990s. And in a cryptocurrency world dominated by volatile giants like bitcoin and Ethereum, many investors are “hodling”—holding on for dear life. He sees a niche for a stablecoin that doesn’t fluctuate wildly, is tethered to a fiat currency (in this case, the loonie) and can be deposited at a bank.