Fed’s Brainard Says US Can’t Not Have a CBDC in a World in Which Others Have Them

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Chief among the reasons the U.S. needs to have a digital dollar is that other countries are racing to issue their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC), Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Friday, Reuters reported.

  • Speaking at the Aspen Institute Economic Strategy Group, Brainard said, “The dollar is very dominant in international payments, and if you have the other major jurisdictions in the world with a digital currency, a CBDC offering, and the U.S. doesn’t have one, I just, I can’t wrap my head around that,” according to the Reuters report.

  • Earlier this month, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told a House committee a Fed report on CBDCs would come in early September as the central bank decides on the merits of issuing a digital dollar. Meanwhile, China is in the testing stage of its own CBDC.

  • Closer to home, Brainard said the proliferation of stablecoins could fragment the payment system without a digital dollar, according to the report.

  • A digital dollar could also help people without bank accounts to get government aid such as coronavirus pandemic relief payments, Reuters quoted the Fed governor as saying.

  • Separately, Brainard said she doesn’t see any signs that currently high inflation readings are pushing longer-term inflation expectations above the central bank’s 2% target.

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