The American CBDC debate is heating up. Tom Emmer, a republican congressman for the district of Minnesota, introduced a bill that would effectively bar FED from issuing central bank digital currency to individual consumers.
Emmer himself called it “the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act” intended to stop the efforts of “unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC from stripping Americans of their right to financial privacy.” Unelected indeed, as the FED’s Board of Governors members are nominated by the U.S. president and confirmed by the senate.
The bill states that “(...) a Federal Reserve bank may not offer products or services directly to an individual, or maintain an account on behalf of an individual, or issue a central bank digital currency directly to an individual,” and goes on to detail that “the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee may not use any central bank digital currency to implement monetary policy.”
Emmer’s legislation is unlikely to pass the Democrat-dominated senate, even if it makes it through the House. Essentially, it is an updated version of the last year’s bill that required that any digital currency rolled out by the FED be permissionless to ensure privacy.
Emmer has been one of the most crypto-friendly and crypto-conscious politicians in the U.S. Congress, calling on the government to scale back regulation and drawing a clear line between decentralized currencies and state-backed CBDCs, which pose an obvious danger to financial freedom.
Emmer’s initiative coincides with an uptick in FED’s activity around the creation of the digital dollar. In December 2022, the Boston branch of the institution along with MIT completed joint research into the technical feasibility of CBDC. Earlier this year, Jerome Powell, FED’s chairman, claimed that a dollar-pegged CBDC would help maintain the global dominance of the U.S. currency.
According to the CBDC tracker available on Atlantic Council’s website, almost 120 countries are involved in some kind of CBDC testing. 11 of them have already launched their CBDCs, 17 are conducting pilot implementations, and 33 are in the phase of development.