Biden administration takes one step closer to a digital dollar

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The Biden administration is moving the United States closer to creating a digital dollar.

As part of a series of reports released Friday by different parts of the administration, an interagency task force will begin meeting regularly to support the Federal Reserve’s ongoing research into the possibility of a bank’s digital currency. central (CBDC), and to prepare the rest of the federal government if or when the Fed decides to create one.

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters on a Thursday press call that the White House, Treasury and other executive agencies wanted to do their part to support the Fed’s ongoing analysis and experimentation with a digital dollar. Separate from a CBDC but linked to faster payment services, the Treasury also recommends that federal regulators develop a framework for non-bank payment providers, which currently must register state-by-state as transmitters of silver.

A senior administration official, speaking on context as a condition for answering questions, explained that the United States wanted to be able to issue a CBDC if the Fed decided it was in the interest of the country to create one.

Government officials continue to debate whether a digital dollar would be necessary to keep the dollar competitive against the currencies of countries that are already experimenting with CBDCs, such as China. A CBDC acts like a national stablecoin, with instant payments using rails similar to bitcoin, but under central bank control. This raises questions about privacy and whether a digital dollar would radically disrupt the banking industry.

The inter-agency group will meet regularly to further examine these issues.

Administration officials stressed that the decision will ultimately be made by the Fed. The central bank’s point person on the project, Vice Chair Lael Brainard, said last week that a digital dollar was not high on the Fed’s agenda.

The Fed continues to push for real-time payments using unencrypted technology and plans to launch the service, called FedNow, next summer.

This project was not without its own controversy, however. Former Fed Vice Chairman of Oversight Randy Quarles voted against the plan, objecting that the Fed had told private sector banks to go ahead with costly investments to expand their own real-time payment system, on the condition that the government would not create a competitor.

“In a business context, when you’re dealing with a counterparty who makes promises and then repeatedly breaks them at the last minute and it costs you money, you’re not doing business with them anymore,” Quarles said during an interview. a panel on CBDCs last week. Bank Policy Institute conference in New York. Quarles, a former Republican appointed by Donald Trump to the Fed board, dryly added, “and then apparently you elect them president of the United States,” an allusion to Trump’s reported habit of refusing to pay those that he hired to work.

© 2022 The Block Crypto, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended for use as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice.

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