U.S. House Votes To Ban Central Bank Digital Currency From Federal Reserve

The new bill will stop unelected bureaucrats from using CBDCs for surveilling Americans, supporters say.

May 23, 2024 - 23:50
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U.S. House Votes To Ban Central Bank Digital Currency From Federal Reserve

The United States House of Representatives voted on Thursday in favor of barring the Federal Reserve from directly issuing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to its citizens.

The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act bill garnered support from 213 Republicans and 3 Democrats, making the final tally 262 ‘yea’ to 192 ‘nay’.

Republicans Pass Another Crypto Bill

The bill, introduced by pro-crypto Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), marks the third crypto-focused legislation approved by Congress this month – and has been largely celebrated by the online crypto community that favors trustless, decentralized currencies such as Bitcoin.

“My legislation ensures that the United States’ digital currency policy remains in the hands of the American people so that any development of digital money reflects our values of privacy, individual sovereignty, and free market competitiveness,” wrote Emmer to Twitter following the bill’s passage on Thursday.

Unlike Bitcoin, CBDCs are controlled and issued directly by a central bank, and are either backed by or used as substitutes for a nation’s fiat currency. Certain CBDCs in other countries – such as China’s digital yuan – are also used to track consumer purchases, and help determine each citizen’s social credit score.

Rep. French Hill (R-AR) backed the bill due to the dangers of such power being wielded by the State, highlighting when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau froze citizens’ bank accounts who donated to anti-vaccine mandate protests in 2022.

“We don’t need a retail central bank digital currency – we have a payment system that can capitalize on the private sector,” Hill said during debate remarks on Thursday. “For example, private sector payment stablecoins are a terrific innovation.”

Democrat Opposition On Crypto Legislation

Democrats such as Financial Services Committee ranking member Maxine Waters (D-CA) countered that the United States could lead the world in how to issue a CBDC that respected privacy, rather than allowing the digital yuan to gain dominance.

“This bill is an attempt to stifle U.S. innovation & competitiveness abroad, & to undermine the Federal agency that is the most critical to fighting inflation,” she added.

On Wednesday, the House also passed the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21), which established clear rules on how cryptocurrencies and crypto companies should register with federal market regulators.

Unlike Thursday’s bill, FIT21 received substantial bi-partisan support, with 71 Democrats voting in favor.

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