The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C., has released a report warning that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) threaten America’s freedom. The report comes as several countries, including China, Sweden, and the Bahamas, have already launched CBDCs or are in the process of developing them.
According to the report, CBDCs could give governments unprecedented control over citizens’ financial lives. This could include tracking every transaction, freezing or seizing funds, and imposing negative interest rates. The report argues that this level of control would be a significant departure from the current system, where citizens have some measure of financial privacy and autonomy.
Elimination of physical cash could erode citizens’ financial privacy and make them more vulnerable to government surveillance
The report on CBDCs threatening America’s freedom also points out that the introduction of CBDCs could lead to the eventual elimination of physical cash, which could further erode citizens’ financial privacy and make them more vulnerable to government surveillance. The authors argue that this could have significant implications for political dissent and activism, as governments could use financial surveillance to target and silence their critics.
Furthermore, the report warns that introducing CBDCs could also have negative implications for the banking sector. The authors argue that if citizens are able to hold digital currency directly with the central bank, it could potentially undermine the role of commercial banks, which would have fewer deposits to lend out. This could lead to a contraction of the banking sector and a reduction in the availability of credit.
Policymakers should proceed with caution and consider the potential implications of CBDCs before implementing them
The Cato Institute report concludes that while there may be some potential benefits to the introduction of CBDCs, such as increased efficiency and reduced transaction costs, the risks to citizens’ core freedoms are too great to ignore. The authors argue that policymakers should proceed with caution and carefully consider the potential implications of CBDCs before implementing them.
The report has already generated significant controversy, with some policymakers and experts pushing back against the authors’ claims. They argue that CBDCs could actually increase financial inclusion and provide citizens with greater access to the financial system. Others argue that the risks identified in the report are overstated and that proper safeguards can be put in place to protect citizens’ privacy and autonomy.
Despite the controversy, it is clear that CBDCs are likely to play an increasingly significant role in the global financial system in the coming years. As countries continue to explore the potential benefits and risks of these digital currencies, it will be important to carefully consider the implications for citizens’ privacy, autonomy, and economic freedom after CBDCs threaten America’s freedom