CBDC Anti-Surveillance Act Passes Out of Financial Services Committee

On Sept. 20, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act passed out of the Financial Services Committee. Republican Senator Tom Emmer said it was,

“A historical step in defending against an ever-expanding government surveillance state.”

The House Majority Whip has been battling against Federal Reserve moves to develop a CBDC.

Anti-CBDC Bill Moves Forward

The Act is the first anti-CBDC legislation introduced in the United States. Senator Emmer first proposed the CBDC bill in January 2022, and it was formally introduced to Congress in February 2023.

The primary aim is to limit the Federal Reserve from minting a programmable CBDC, which Emmer claims is a “surveillance tool that would be used to undermine the American way of life.”

The bill has the support of 60 members of Congress and additional industry groups, Emmer said.

He warned that a CBDC is very different from decentralized digital assets in that it transacts on a digital ledger that is designed and controlled by the government.

“In short, a central bank digital currency is a government controlled programmable money, if not designed like cash, could give the federal government the ability to surveil and restrict American’s transactions.”

Senator Emmer cited China as an example of where this is already happening. The ruling communist party has designed a CBDC to track the spending habits of its citizens, which has been used to create a social credit system that rewards or punishes people based on their behavior.

He also cited the Canadian government’s freezing of bank accounts of protesters in the 2020 trucker protests. “That might work in Canada, it doesn’t work here,” he added before concluding:

“If not open, permissionless, and private like cash, a CBCD is nothing more than a CCP-style surveillance tool that can be weaponized to oppress the American way of life.”

Fed CBDC Prohibitions

The bill specifically prohibits the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC to individuals. Senator Emmer said this would prevent the central bank from mobilizing into a retail bank able to collect personal financial data.

The bill also prohibits the central bank from using any CBDC to implement monetary policy.

The legislation will now go for a full vote before the House. If it passes, the Democrat-controlled Senate would also have to weigh in on the matter, and many of them, including the vehemently anti-crypto politicians, oppose it.

Moreover, US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. agrees with the principles outlined in Senator Emmer’s bill. “That is why I oppose CBDCs, which will vastly magnify the government’s power to suffocate dissent by cutting off access to funds with a keystroke,” he said in May.


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