CBDC Development Necessary for the U.S. to Remain Competitive, says Congressman

In an effort to remain a competitive player in the world of digital assets, the U.S. should look to push forward with the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot, said U.S. Rep. James Himes (D-Conn.).

Himes told CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover,” the U.S. should continue to work on a CBDC so that if and when the time comes, “we’ve got the option to move forward if we need to.”

“Why would you exit the game before you even know what the game is going to look like?,” Himes said. “We could do the research. We could set up a pilot program for a CBDC.”

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CBDCs are considered to be a new and digitally-native form of money, with pilot projects in countries such as Australia, Iran, Japan and even Russia, beginning to take shape.

“We could shut it down,” said Himes, noting that the possibility that a CBDC will never be adopted in the U.S. “But the point is, since it is a technological innovation, why not keep up with our peers, with our competitors and see where it goes.”

Himes – who currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy – said his support for a U.S.-based CBDC pilot project falls on the notion that he doesn’t want the U.S. to “get left behind,” and added that there is likely a market for CBDCs that appeal to certain populations.

“Why not build a CBDC platform upon which innovators could build payment systems, remittances [and] businesses,” Himes said. “It could serve as the platform for private sector innovation.”

Currently, said Himes, the U.S. is “nowhere,” on the development of a CBDC project. A “huge political decision” needs to be resolved between lawmakers before any progress can be made, he added.

“If we were serious about it, we could move it pretty quickly,” said Himes. “We can do a lot of the setup before we actually push the button and say, ‘Hey, there's now a CBDC,’” Himes said.

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