The Bank of Canada said its running experiments with the nation's lenders on interbank payment systems using distributed ledgers, to better understand the technology.
The central bank has no plans to issue any digital currency for public use, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins said in an e-mailed statement.
One of the central bank's research projects "is to build a proof of concept wholesale interbank payment system using a distributed ledger," Wilkins said. "The Bank's goal in these projects is solely to better understand the technology first-hand."
The Bank of Canada is undertaking the project with Payments Canada, Canadian commercial banks and the R3 consortium, a group of more than 40 banks including Barclays and JPMorgan Chase, which is working on ways to use the blockchain for money transfers, record keeping and other back-end functions.
Blockchain refers to the technology used for verifying and recording transactions for digital currencies such as bitcoin. Public online ledgers are now seen as having the potential to reshape the global financial system and possibly other industries.
"These are still conceptual research questions that are being investigated by many central banks," Wilkins said.