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House Votes to Safeguard Financial Privacy: CBDC Anti-Surveillance Act Passed

3 mins
Updated by Lynn Wang
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In Brief

  • The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act passed in the House, addressing financial privacy concerns and digital currency misuse.
  • Majority Whip Tom Emmer introduced the bill in 2023, which gained 165 Republican cosponsors and passed with a 216-192 vote.
  • Now heading to the Senate, this recent passage marks the third time the US House has passed crypto-focused bills this month.
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On May 23, the US House of Representatives passed the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, introduced in 2023 by Majority Whip Tom Emmer. The bill aims to amend the Federal Reserve Act to prevent central bank digital currency (CBDC) from being used for monetary policy or direct consumer services.

This legislation seeks to ensure that digital currency development upholds American principles of privacy and individual autonomy.

Ensuring Financial Privacy Amid Digital Advancements: House Passes CBDC Act

The House passed the bill by 216-192 on Thursday afternoon. By then, it had 165 Republican cosponsors.

The debate on the Republican-supported bill saw sparse attendance. Republican proponents emphasized the risk of CBDC misuse, while Democrats focused on innovation, the dollar’s global standing, and flaws in the bill’s drafting.

During the delivery, Chairman Patrick McHenry highlighted instances where governments, such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), have used CBDCs to monitor citizens’ spending behaviors. This surveillance implements a social credit system that either rewards or penalizes individuals based on their actions. McHenry asserted that this form of financial surveillance is unacceptable in the US.

“Concerningly, it appears the current Administration does not agree. In 2022, the White House issued an Executive Order pushing for CBDC research and development. The corresponding report responding to that Executive Order did nothing to ease those concerns. This is why the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act is necessary. The bill requires authorizing legislation from Congress for the issuance of any CBDC—ensuring that it must reflect American values. If not open, permissionless, and private, a CBDC is no more than a CCP-style surveillance tool waiting to be weaponized,” Chairman McHenry stated.

Read more: Crypto vs. Banking: Which Is a Smarter Choice?

After the bill’s passage, Whip Emmer reaffirmed his commitment to improving the digital economy environment in the US.

“My legislation ensures that the United States’ digital currency policy remains in the hands of the American people so that any development of digital money reflects our values of privacy, individual sovereignty, and free market competitiveness. This is what the future global digital economy needs. We are proud to have led this effort and thank my colleagues for their support,” he affirmed.

Yet, the bill does not prohibit the issuance of “dollar-denominated currency that is open, permissionless, and private, and fully preserves the privacy protections of United States coins and physical currency,” which many believe refers to stablecoins. Representative French Hill’s statement further supported this part.

“For example, private sector payment stablecoins are a terrific innovation that will become a ubiquitous way for people to transact and expand and enhance the dollar dominance of our currency around the world,” he said.

The crypto community reacted positively, with some speculating that Ripple’s upcoming stablecoin perfectly fits the description. JackTheRippler, a prominent figure in Ripple’s XRP community, expressed his excitement on X (Twitter).

“The US Government can’t make a CBDC but they can adopt a stablecoin on a public existing network. Guess who will launch a high-quality stablecoin on the XRP Ledger this year? Ripple!” JackTheRippler wrote.

However, Ripple’s upcoming stablecoin might be in jeopardy due to a recent redacted remedies reply brief from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month. The SEC highlights Ripple’s plan to launch a new crypto asset, which many believe refers to the company’s stablecoin—the SEC attached the press release of Ripple’s stablecoin for reference.

This passage marks the third instance of the US House passing cryptocurrency-related legislation. BeInCrypto recently reported that the House passed two other crypto bills this month: H.J. Res. 109 and the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21).

Read more: What Is a Stablecoin? A Beginner’s Guide

H.J. Res 109 aims to overturn the SEC’s contentious Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 (SAB 121). Meanwhile, FIT21 seeks to define the roles of the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in regulating cryptocurrencies. FIT21 also sets guidelines for various aspects of the crypto market, including token issuance, trading, and custody.

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Lynn Wang
Lynn Wang is a seasoned journalist at BeInCrypto, covering a wide range of topics, including tokenized real-world assets (RWA), tokenization, artificial intelligence (AI), regulatory enforcement, and investments in the crypto industry. Previously, she led a team of content creators and journalists for BeInCrypto Indonesia, focusing on the adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the region, as well as regulatory developments. Prior to that, at Value Magazine, she covered...