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

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

Screenshot 2024-05-23 091855.png


Bitcoin L2s aim to boost scalability while preserving decentralization and security, unlocking a better user experience, and new avenues for Bitcoin-powered innovations. However, no existing Bitcoin L2 leverages the full security of Bitcoin.


Also, toncoin could be crypto’s next blue-chip token


I believe that the innovation happening on Bitcoin right now is what will ultimately lead to a better Bitcoin for everyone


The payments firm is exploring PYUSD’s payments use cases


Planned funds would not stake their holdings, which some say will hurt the ETFs’ appeal for certain investors


Solana validators voted in favor of a proposal that would send 100% of priority fees to validators


In November, an iteration of the survey found that 34% of respondents were paying attention to crypto, but that figure has since jumped to 41%