China has announced that its central bank will issue digital money, raising fears that the move will enhance real-time surveillance of its citizens at home and undermine the primacy of the US dollar in the global financial system. This spring, US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen confirmed that Uncle Sam is also researching a digital dollar, with help from MIT. While Powell was careful to note that decisions on whether the US government will proceed must devolve to Congress, experts say lawmakers and the public are ill-prepared to consider the myriad questions that arise.
Does America need a Central Bank Digital Currency? How would Americans’ privacy be assured? How would it be different from Bitcoin or so called “stable coins” that are paired to a tangible asset? Is Blockchain implementation advanced enough to support a digital dollar? Who would be allowed to own these cyber bucks? Could foreigners buy them? How would anyone know? How would taxation and laws against money-laundering be enforced? Will the EU introduce a competing currency? If the US doesn’t introduce a digital dollar, will the Chinese cyber yuan outcompete the greenback? Will a digital yuan undermine US national security?
Journalists in Asia are already reporting on China’s “digital wallet” and the digital yuan as a useful and powerful tool for tracking macroeconomic trends and the micro consumption habits of its population. In this National Press Foundation briefing, three experts will explore the myriad implications of a Central Bank Digital Currency for the United States and how journalists can better cover this complex story. Speakers include:
- Daniel Gorfine, co-founder, Digital Dollar Project, Founder and CEO, Gattaca Horizons LLL
- Adrienne Harris, Professor of Practice, University of Michigan, former Special Assistant to President Obama for financial services.
- Josh Lipsky, Director, GeoEconomics Center, Atlantic Council
- Heather Dahl, CEO of Indicio.tech