Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill last week to ban central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in the Sunshine State—and now others appear to want to follow in his footsteps.
Currently, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and North Dakota have all drafted bills opposing a digital dollar.
CBDCs are a hot topic right now. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, CBDCs are overseen and operated by a centralized entity.
Only 11 countries have so far launched a CBDC, according to the Atlantic Council’s tracker, but many other nations are researching and trialing the technology. China’s digital yuan is the most advanced.
America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, has been talking about a CBDC for some time but hasn’t given any major details on whether one will actually be released.
In March, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the Fed hadn’t decided on whether a CBDC was needed in the States.
And the Fed’s website currently states that the body has “made no decision on issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and would only proceed with the issuance of a CBDC with an authorizing law.”
But politicians throughout the U.S. are still worried—and a number have expressed concern and called for opposition to a digital dollar through draft bills (none of which have advanced as much as Florida’s bill.)
Texas lawmakers this month introduced a draft “Expressing opposition to the creation of a central bank digital currency” Texas Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 bill, claiming that a digital dollar “could lead to unprecedented levels of government surveillance and control over private cash holdings and transactions.”
While North Dakota representatives’ “The adoption of a Central Bank Digital Currency in the United States” bill says that “the adoption of a CBDC by the federal government would hand unprecedented control over the lives, freedoms, choices, and sovereignty of the people of North Dakota to the Federal Reserve.”
Florida Bans a Central Bank Digital Currency https://t.co/S8UfWrLZyc
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 12, 2023
The Legislature of Louisiana lawmakers said that the technology “raises significant concerns over privacy for individuals and businesses in Louisiana”—and urged U.S. congress to not support CBDC legislation.
Perhaps the closest to Florida’s radical law is Alabama’s draft bill, debated today, which would “prohibit any state or government local agency from accepting CBDC as a form of payment.”
Lawmakers opposing CBDCs are overwhelmingly Republican—making the topic of a centralized digital currency in the States a very partisan issue: Governor DeSantis has described the idea as “woke,” while anti-crypto Democrat Elizabeth Warren has called for the U.S. to push ahead with a CBDC.
But until the Federal Reserve actually announces what it is doing with the technology, CBDCs might just be more fodder for a political culture war.