Fed Vice Chairman, Brainard tells House committee about the potential role of CBDC
“A well-designed central bank digital currency could complement stablecoins and cash”, Brainard said in front of the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday.
In Lael Brainard’s first statements following her recent swearing-in to the role of Fed Vice Chair, she told the House Financial Services Committee that the Fed is still working on the dollar digitally (CBDC) and will not act on its own without the approval of the White House and Congress.
Brainard acknowledged the position of stablecoins in the economy, saying in her written statement. She said:
“In some future circumstances, CBDC could coexist with and be complementary to stablecoins and commercial bank money by providing a safe central bank liability in the digital financial ecosystem, much like cash currently coexists with commercial bank money.”
In response to some bankers’ concerns that CBDCs would have a massive impact and potentially knock back their deposit business, Brainard said the Fed may not be using interest-bearing CBDCs.
In addition, she also mentioned that the Fed is looking at capping CBDC holdings to encourage customers to use them only in payments and not as a safe asset for people or businesses to invest their money in private.
If the Fed launches a CBDC, Brainard says the asset could coexist with stablecoins and the existing US financial system. She confirmed that CBDC holding and trading will still be managed through private sector accounts, not at the Fed’s direct customer accounts.
Finally, the Fed Vice Chairman asserted that letting other Central Banks issue CBDCs, such as in Europe, could eventually weaken the US dollar as a major global currency. Based on a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in March, around 100 countries are currently exploring CBDCs at various levels. Therefore, the US will fall into a state of “at-risk” if it does not act quickly.
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