CBDCs can be ‘easily weaponized’ to spy on US citizens: Congressman

US Congressman Tom Emmer believes the launch of programmable central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the country could deprive US citizens of their financial privacy.

Speaking at the Cato Institute, a Washington DC-based libertarian think tank on March 9, Emmer explained that the programmable CBDC could be “easily weaponized” as an espionage tool to “stifle politically unpopular activity,” among other things:

As the federal government tries to maintain and expand the financial control it has become accustomed to, the idea of ​​central bank digital currency has gained popularity within the institutions of power in the United States as a government-controlled programmable money that can be armed easily. in a surveillance tool.”

The Minnesota representative introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance Act on Feb. 22 to halt progress on The Digital Dollar Project, which has seen significant development in how it would be used since the second draft of its whitepaper was released in mid-January.

“Recent actions by the Biden administration make it clear that they are not only eager to create a digital dollar, but that they are willing to trade Americans’ right to financial privacy for the surveillance-style CBDC” he added.

Emmer suggested that the blockchain-enabled “ownership economy” “threatens” many bureaucrats in Washington D.C., as it “shifts economic power from centralized institutions back into the hands of the people.”

While the Federal Reserve’s latest discussion paper explained that it would only issue the CBDC in the context of “broad public and intergovernmental support,” Emmer and many others are concerned about the potential dangers that could arise:

“Not only does it track transaction-level data down to the individual user, but also the ability to program the CBDC to stifle politically unpopular activity.”

Related: ‘Programmable money should scare you’ – Layah Heilpern

Emmer also argued that decentralized cryptocurrencies can serve as a solution to the mismanagement of the US monetary system and restore many of the “American values” that led the nation to become an economic powerhouse in the 20th century: privacy, individual sovereignty and free markets.

He added that even by experimenting with CBDCs, the US is going against these values:

“Nothing is more dangerous than holding on to such a fabricated sense of urgency and ultimately developing a CBDC that is not open, permissionless and private.”