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Former CFTC Chair: U.S. Should Prioritize Privacy and Freedom in CBDC Development

Key Takeaways
  • Former CFTC Chair, Christopher Giancarlo, believes CBDCs should prioritize individual privacy and freedom
  • He argues that current AML and KYC measures are outdated and constitutionally questionable
  • Giancarlo suggests the U.S. take the lead in developing CBDCs that protect these democratic values
14-Mar-2023 By: Anirudh Trivedi
Former CFTC Chair: U

The former Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has recently emphasized the importance of prioritizing privacy and freedom in the development of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in the United States.

Former Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Christopher Giancarlo, is advocating for the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) that prioritize individual freedom over government surveillance. In an op-ed published in The Hill, Giancarlo emphasized the importance of protecting democratic values such as freedom of speech and the right to privacy in the development of CBDCs. 

He suggested that the U.S. should leverage the technology used by some cryptocurrency protocols to achieve this goal and set the standard for CBDC development.

Giancarlo, also known as "Crypto Dad," co-founded the Digital Dollar Project and is dedicated to exploring the implications of a U.S. CBDC. In a report co-authored with Jim Harper for the American Enterprise Institute, Giancarlo expressed his concerns about privacy and the need for a "freedom coin" that guarantees a high level of privacy. The report argues that CBDCs offer an opportunity to reevaluate current financial surveillance practices and potentially enhance constitutional protections.

However, the authors took issue with a recent document published by the Biden administration's White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which they believe shows that financial surveillance in the West is similar to that of China. They specifically criticized the OSTP's proposed Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) measures, which they believe allow for excessive surveillance without probable cause.

The authors and U.S. Senator Tom Emmer, who introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance Act in 2022, share concerns that a CBDC must guarantee privacy to avoid being used similarly to China's e-yuan. While the implementation of certain technologies could enable "intelligent enforcement" of crime prevention, the United States must reevaluate its current financial surveillance policies.

Giancarlo's insights are invaluable in the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrency, and his advocacy for privacy and constitutional protections is commendable. As the world continues to embrace digital currencies, it is essential to have leaders like Giancarlo who prioritize privacy and security.

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