- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has put forward new legislation that would ban the use of a federally issued digital dollar in the state if it were to come about.

The Republican governor’s bill would prevent a Central Bank Digital Currency, or CBDC, from being accepted as money by changing Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Digital currencies have been adopted by authoritarian nations such as China, with its Digital Yuan launched last year. Mr. DeSantis argued that was a red flag for America’s own interest in the project.

“What the central bank digital currency is all about is surveilling Americans and controlling behavior of Americans,” Mr. DeSantis said. “How do we know? We’ve seen this happen in other parts of the world. Look no further than China.”

The bill also proposes banning any potential international CBDCs from being used in Florida. Mr. DeSantis called on other states to follow suit.

Mr. DeSantis‘ bill appears to be in response to a year-old executive order by President Biden that called on the federal government to assess the effect of fully digitizing the nation’s currency supply and financial assets.

One of those efforts involves the government evaluating the Federal Reserve’s ongoing research into CBDCs, which first began in 2016, according to cryptocurrency news site Decrypt.

“A Central Bank Digital Currency is the cornerstone of a federal government that could track each and every transaction that happens in the world,” State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in a Monday press release. “There would be no privacy, and if there is no privacy, there are no rights.”

The Florida governor said during the press conference that there is an effort set the stage for CBDCs through subtle revisions to the federal Uniform Commercial Code, according to the Panama City News Herald.

Republicans on the national stage are also banging the drum about federally controlled digital currencies.

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Minnesota Republican, reintroduced a bill in February that would limit the Fed’s ability to issue a CBDC directly to American consumers, according to Decrypt. Similar to Mr. DeSantis, the Republican congressman has argued previously that a CBDC would threaten Americans’ financial privacy.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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