In a bid to prevent the Federal Reserve from launching a "direct-to-consumer" CBDC, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a bill aimed at blocking the move. Cruz is concerned that a retail CBDC could be used by the federal government for financial surveillance, and is seeking to protect American citizens' financial privacy while maintaining the dollar's dominance and promoting innovation. This is not the first time that Cruz has attempted to block the Fed's CBDC initiative. He previously introduced a similar bill, along with fellow Republican Senators Braun and Grassley, in March 2022, but it failed to progress beyond the introduction phase.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and several large financial firms have made significant progress on a U.S. dollar CBDC since President Joe Biden signed an executive order entitled "Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets" in March 2022. In November, they participated in a 12-week digital dollar pilot program with Mastercard and SWIFT.
Cruz, Braun, and Grassley are not alone in their opposition to CBDCs. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also called on state lawmakers to introduce legislation banning the digital dollar in Florida.
However, proponents of CBDCs argue that they have the potential to revolutionize the way we use money, making transactions faster, cheaper, and more secure. CBDCs could also help to reduce the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, such as volatility and lack of regulation. They could also improve financial inclusion by providing access to banking services to people who are currently underserved by traditional banks.
It remains to be seen whether Cruz's bill will gain any traction, but it is clear that the debate over CBDCs is far from over. As more countries explore the possibility of launching their own digital currencies, it is likely that we will see increasing calls for regulation and oversight to ensure that CBDCs are developed responsibly and with the best interests of citizens in mind.