The Bank of Canada is embarking on a program of major social significance to design a contingent system for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which can be thought of as a banknote, but in digital form. This project will require us to break new ground. It will take into consideration a wide variety of factors, including policy considerations, diverse stakeholder needs, difficult technical challenges and the development of a technical architecture to realize a CBDC pilot system.
For further background information on the CBDC program, please refer to the Contingency Planning for a Central Bank Digital Currency background note, Money and Payments in the Digital Age speech by Deputy Governor Tim Lane and Staff Analytical Notes on Technology Approach for a CBDC, Privacy in CBDC technology and Security of a CBDC.
We aim to design a CBDC with cash-like properties in digital form:
- Secure: CBDC must have the highest levels of security so Canadians can use it with confidence, as they do our banknotes.
- Private: While not aiming for cash-like anonymity, CBDC should be highly private yet meet the obligation to be compliant with anti-money laundering and other regulations.
- Universally accessible: Regardless of their circumstances, CBDC should be usable by all Canadians, even by those without a bank account or access to a cellular phone, in remote communities not well served by cellular networks, and/or those with sensory, motor and cognitive impairments.
- Resilient: CBDC should continue to work even during electrical power and network outages.
We will design an architecture into which these properties are coherently embedded, with a potentially multi-decade evolving lifespan, supporting a business model designed to achieve CBDC policy goals.
What will you do
Reporting to the Director, Fintech Research team in the IT Services department, you use your expertise and intellect to solve unique and difficult problems through the application of cryptography as needed. Working in a talented and diverse team you touch all phases of a research and development project towards meeting challenging policy goals.
You will have the opportunity to use your specialized skills, develop these further and contribute to other areas of the project:
- Devise technical solutions to difficult and unique problems either independently, with team members or with external vendors and experts as required
- Identify gaps and investigate emerging technologies as required for their application for CBDC
- Assist in the design and development of proof-of-technologies / proof-of-concepts
- Critically examine, audit and test the claims of vendors and designers
- Explain technologies and solutions to other technical audiences and occasionally business stakeholders in the Bank
- Explain and justify design choices, especially when multiple options are available
- Contribute to development of a working CBDC system and contribute to the documentation and body of knowledge of technical designs
What you will need to succeed
We are looking for a talented cryptographer from who are accomplished with the following knowledge and skills:
- Foundational understanding of cryptographic concepts and constructs, including symmetric and asymmetric encryption, hashing techniques, elliptic curve cryptography;
- Specialized knowledge in the use and zero-knowledge proofs, homomorphic encryption, multi-party computation and other privacy enhancing techniques;
- Specialized knowledge of cryptanalysis to assess weaknesses and develop attacks in existing and newly proposed techniques;
- Experienced in the application of said techniques and their practical implications from design, implementation, performance and operational perspectives, including familiarity with one or more established libraries (e.g. OpenSSL, WolfSSL)
- Familiarity with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), Identity and Access Management (IAM) and authentication mechanisms
- Familiarity with quantum-safe cryptographic constructs and their cryptanalysis
- Familiarity with the principles of cyber security and the role of cryptography in achieving cyber security
- Continued commitment to reviewing the state-of-the-art and emerging trends in the field
- Using at least two major programming languages (Java, C++, Python, Ruby, etc.) or evidence of substantial expertise with the tools relevant to your field
- Experienced in publication in peer reviewed journals
We are also looking for someone who can demonstrate:
- Creativity – able to devise solutions to hard problems
- Intellectual leadership – acquire and apply mastery of subject matter with others
- Versatility – able to contribute to areas outside immediate expertise
- A research-oriented mindset
- Good coding practices – Experience implementing one or more cryptographic primitives
- Familiarity with the application of cryptography to achieve practical privacy solutions
- Experience in the field of payments or fintech more generally
Your education and experience
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, physics, mathematics or another related discipline and demonstrable, significant, work experience and expertise in cryptography or a post graduate degree with specialization in cryptography. An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered.
What you need to know
- Language requirement: English and French essential (bilingual) with a minimum starting level of functional (level 4) in second official language. Training may be provided to help reach the required level of fully functional (level 5) in second official language.
- Priority will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents
- Security level required: Secret
- Relocation assistance may be provided, if required
- The official title of this position at the Bank is “Technical Researcher”
- You will be teleworking from your current location while the Bank operates under mandatory telework, and flexibility for telework for duration of the term may also be offered if required.
- Please save a copy of the job poster. Once the closing date has passed, it will no longer be available.
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and further to public health guidelines, preventative measures are being taken to ensure health and safety during the recruitment process. All interviews are conducted virtually.
We wish to thank all applicants for their interest and effort in applying for this position. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.
What you can expect from us
This is a great opportunity to join a leading organization and be part of a high-performing team. We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet your needs at every stage of your life and career. For more information on key benefits please visit A great deal to consider.
- Salaries are based on qualifications and experience and typically range from $95,500 to $119,400 (job grade 17)
- Depending on performance, you may be eligible for performance pay for successfully meeting (7 to 10% of your base salary) or for exceeding expectations (15% of your base salary). Exceptional performers who far exceed expectations may be eligible for higher performance pay.
- Flexible and comprehensive benefits so you can choose the level of health and dental coverage that meets your needs
- Extra vacation days (up to five each year) that you can purchase to add to your vacation entitlement
- Option to join the indexed, defined-benefit pension plan after 24 consecutive months of service
We strive to make our policies, programs and workplace more inclusive, respectful and barrier-free. We encourage applications from women, Indigenous peoples, veterans, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities and persons of all races, ethnic origins, religions, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities and expressions.
- zero-knowledge proof