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How might a Federal Reserve digital currency work?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Oct 7, 2021
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The Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

How might a Federal Reserve digital currency work?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Oct 7, 2021
Heard on:
The Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Federal Reserve is in the midst of deciding whether to create a digital currency. Right now it’s studying the risks and benefits. It’s expected to release a report as soon as this month.

A central bank digital currency would just be a digital version of the dollar, issued and managed directly by the Fed. At last month’s press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the ultimate test for a digital dollar will be “whether clear and tangible benefits outweigh any costs and risks.”

A digital dollar could make it cheaper and faster to move money around. And people without access to a regular bank account could get one with the Fed, said Danielle DiMartino Booth, a former adviser at the Dallas Fed.

“They would have, if you will, a checking account there, at the Federal Reserve,” she said.

DiMartino Booth said that would make it easier for the government to distribute federal aid.

There is a flip side, said Richard Levin, chair of the fintech and regulation practice at the law firm Nelson Mullins: The Fed would know a lot about you.

“They would know exactly where you spent every digital dollar,” he said.

Levin says it would be better for consumers to keep digital dollars at traditional, commercial banks that are required to protect your data.

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