Federal Reserve officials are willing to learn more about a national digital currency They amped up the tone and tempo regarding their exploration of a digital version of the U.S. dollar. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell issued a public video to announce plans for a discussion paper on digital payments this summer. The paper will include advantages and disadvantages associated with any U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC).
On May 24, Governor Lael Brainard discussed risk factors that may arise if the fast-developing digital payments space gets too fragmented. He emphasized that it was vital for the U.S. to be at the table in the development of cross-border standards.
A digital version of the U.S. dollar can offer several benefits. A CBDC might expand access to the banking system for people without bank accounts. Moreover, it could be a more efficient way to distribute government payments. A CBDC could serve as a safe alternative for consumers and businesses because the private issuers may not always be able to honor their liabilities whereas the Federal Reserve can.
Some research indicates that a CBDC could lower banking costs and lead to an increase in overall deposits.
The U.S. is not the only country that is ready to gather more information about digital currencies. At the moment, China is racing ahead and the country is piloting a digital version of the yuan. The Bahamas became the first country to officially launch a CBDC in October of 2020.
Digital Dollar and obstacles
A digital version of the dollar also comes with certain risk factors. Any mistake in developing and deploying U.S. CBDC could harm the country’s financial standing. Currently, the dollar is the main currency when it comes to cross-border transactions. Economies all over the world could be distorted if a digital dollar were to become unstable. With more than $21 trillion in federal debt, that is a main consideration for the Federal Reserve.
Jerome Powell made it clear that the Federal Reserve can’t create a digital dollar on its own without the help of lawmakers.
Some lawmakers, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, expressed an interest in a digital dollar. Bur Congress appears a long way of acting, and it could take a lot of time to change the situation.