World mint leaders debate future of cash

By Mike Walsh

More than 250 delegates representing worldwide mints and related trades have converged in Ottawa, focusing on the future of circulation coinage in a digital world.

The delegates wasted no time delving into the issues when the Mint Directors Conference (MDC) officially opened Monday morning at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Traditionally held every two years, it’s been five years since the MDC’s last conference due to COVID-19. It’s also been about 20 years since the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) last hosted the MDC in Canada.

Founded in 1962, “the MDC is the pre-eminent international event where mint directors, suppliers, retailers and other stakeholders gather to exchange information and debate the development and future of coins.”

In her opening remarks, RCM President Marie Lemay, who is also chair of the Mint Directors Association, encouraged delegates to use the conference as an opportunity to focus on the future of coins versus increasing digital demands, the challenges and opportunities facing the business of coin collecting, and how can mints be leaders in sustainability.

Stephen Poloz, a former Bank of Canada governor, gave the keynote address on Monday, discussing “In an Ever Changing World – What is Next?” He encouraged the mints to stay relevant as the demand increases worldwide for digital currency.

“Launching digital national currencies may actually add to the underlying social tensions that are central to the world that I’m describing for you,” he said. “Therefore, my thinking is that cash money is worth keeping around, at least as a parallel system with digital systems of currency, just for that one reason alone, but others too.”

After his remarks, delegates participated in a lively discussion on the future of circulation coinage in a digital world.

The RCM’s chief commercial officer Tom Froggatt later led an interactive panel discussion on how mints build brand engagement with their communities through innovative marketing.

Look to future issues of Canadain Coin News for stories on these presentations.

The MDC continues today, focusing on sustainability and appealing to new numismatic collectors.

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