U.S. Congressman Warns Against Federal Reserve-Backed Retail CBDC

Republican Representative French Hill (AR), vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, recently conducted an interview with Forbes in which he expressed concern with the burgeoning impetus for a national central bank digital currency (CBDC), and emphasized that any authorization would need to come from Congress.

Recently, Hill introduced legislation mandating that the Federal Reserve can’t issue such a currency without Congressional approval. While Hill commended the Federal Reserve’s endeavors with the FedNow initiative to update the country’s payment system, he asserted that it must be distinct from a CBDC. Despite backing FedNow, he expressed skepticism about a CBDC for retail, remarking, “I don’t see the need for it in a developed market like the United States.”

Hill emphasized the significance of innovation in the private sector, particularly around dollar-based stablecoins, in gauging the demand for such payment systems. He believes that any CBDC endeavors must operate within a well-defined legal boundary and necessitate an “Article One law from Congress.” A significant concern for Hill is ensuring public trust, especially with respect to Fourth Amendment protections. He contends that much of the anxiety about centralized digital currencies arises from misconceptions and technological fears. Hill states the surest means of cultivating confidence in a CBDC is through Congressional approval.

Hill’s skepticism is shared by others. In April, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle W. Bowman voiced that the risks of a CBDC eclipse its benefits. Similarly, in July, Republican Congressman Warren Davidson criticized digital dollars, describing them as instruments that “corrupt money into a tool for coercion and control.” These apprehensions reflect the broader sentiments of numerous Republicans, especially about the potential programmability of a centralized digital currency.

The debate over CBDCs in the United States is escalating. While some highlight potential advantages and global competitiveness, others spotlight issues of privacy, security, and impacts on the wider financial framework.

First published at Crypto.news.

Jack McPherrin ([email protected]) is a managing editor of StoppingSocialism.com, research editor for The Heartland Institute, and a research fellow for Heartland's Socialism Research Center. He holds an MA in International Affairs from Loyola University-Chicago, and a dual BA in Economics and History from Boston College.