Jerome Powell: CBDC not on the horizon anytime soon

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated the Federal Reserve is nowhere near making a recommendation or adopting a CBDC.

“Only banks have accounts at the Fed and that’s the way we’re going to keep it,” Powell said, emphasizing that any adoption of a CBDC would be facilitated by the banking system. “People don’t need to worry about a central bank digital currency. Nothing like that is remotely close to happening anytime soon.”

The issue has sparked debate, particularly among Republicans concerned that a CBDC could lead to government surveillance of transactions. This concern comes amidst a global exploration of CBDCs, with 130 countries investigating their potential.

Despite the Federal Reserve’s exploration of CBDCs and a report released last year on their implications, Powell confirmed that the Fed would not issue a CBDC without congressional approval. This was highlighted during a query from Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., which Powell responded to affirmatively.

The discussion around CBDCs has also led to legislative actions, including a bill signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banning federal CBDC use in Florida and a bill advanced by Republicans in the House Financial Services Committee to prohibit the Fed from issuing a CBDC directly to individuals.

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