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By Rania Nasrallah-Massaad

How do cryptocurrencies emerge, evolve, and impact consumer behavior?

With the changing landscape of trust and our dependence on digital networks in this age, the role of cryptocurrencies in our future is certain. It is not inconceivable that digital cash will soon replace the Canadian dollar that has been central to our economy since the mid-19th century. Different cryptocurrencies are emerging all over the globe mostly ushered by Bitcoin and its key innovation: the blockchain.

Bitcoin has challenged many of our ideas about who can create money, and brought into focus issues of privacy, transparency, and traceability of all transaction information. While this resulted in growing trust in cryptocurrencies, it remains unclear which cryptocurrencies will persist and evolve into widespread use. It is crucial to study how these digital currencies emerge, evolve, and persist; and how consumer behavior drives this evolution, since they are interlinked with other societal and economic transformations inherent to the digital age.

What is this research about?

Professor Mariam Humayun received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant to study how different cryptocurrencies emerge and evolve, how these communities shift and how consumers are navigating the new frontiers of crypto-assets.

Project title: Consuming Cryptocurrencies: The Consumer Journey Blockchain

Who will benefit from this research?

The knowledge gained from this work will shed light on how various cryptocurrencies and their respective communities are evolving, the consequences of transitioning from paper money to more widespread use of digital cash. This will help governments, banks, and other organizations determine whether digital money can be trusted, and whether the transition is beneficial. Will Canada have its own national cryptocurrency to replace the Canadian dollar? Perhaps. In that sense, this work could have important repercussions for the Canadian economy and all Canadians.

Learn more about the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grants.

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