US Rep. Tom Emmer Proposes Bill to Shape CBDC Plans

Congressman warns that centralized digital currencies could compromise financial privacy, the dollar’s dominance and innovation


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that a report on digital currencies can be expected in the coming weeks
  • The Fed requiring users to set up an account to access a CBDC would put the agency on an “insidious path akin to China’s digital authoritarianism,” Emmer argues

US Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) has introduced a bill that would prevent the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) directly to individuals. 

CBDCs differ from decentralized currencies like bitcoin, as they are issued and backed by a government and transact on a centralized permissioned blockchain. 

While other countries like China develop CBDCs, it is critical for the US to ensure that its policy around digital currency protects financial privacy, maintains the dollar’s dominance, and cultivates innovation, Emmer said in a Wednesday announcement.

“Requiring users to open up an account at the Fed to access a US CBDC would put the Fed on an insidious path akin to China’s digital authoritarianism,” he noted in a statement.

Emmer had previously stressed during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in October that decentralized digital currency can allow society to adapt to the digital economy while maintaining the privacy elements of cash.

The proposed bill comes after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday that a report on digital currencies can be expected in the coming weeks. 

Lawmakers have previously debated a theoretical “digital dollar.” The Fed first announced plans to launch a review of the potential benefits and risks of issuing a CBDC in July 2021, with an original expected release date set for September.  

Though Powell had previously argued that a CBDC would render privately issued stablecoins obsolete, he told Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) during Tuesday’s hearing that the two could co-exist.

“In order to maintain the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency,” Emmer added, “it is important that the United States lead with a posture that prioritizes innovation and does not aim to compete with the private sector.”

The proposed bill faces an uncertain future in the Democrat-controlled House.

Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

MON - WED, MARCH 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience:  Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats  Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts   Grow your network […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Frax report cover.jpg


Frax saw continued development in its frxETH liquid staking derivative and Fraxlend money market throughout 2023. Frax V3 introduces an RWA strategy to drive utility to the protocol's cornerstone product, the FRAX stablecoin.


Following layoffs at BAYC parent Yuga Labs and OpenSea, Tiger Global marked down its stakes


Recent SEC filings suggest the regulator could be lining up the approval of multiple proposals in early January, segment observers argue


A dinner back in September gave big traders a heads up about the DOJ settlement, Bloomberg reported


On-chain debt capital markets platform deploys on Coinbase-incubated layer-2 after structured investment products push


Past performance is not indicative of future results, sure, but no need to rain on the bitcoin price parade just yet


Circle’s letter follows one from the Campaign for Accountability alleging ties to Justin Sun and TRON