As potential candidates for the upcoming U.S. presidential election are fine-tuning their campaigns, several politicians on both sides of the aisle are speaking for cryptocurrencies while bashing big brother’s central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDCs).
Robert Kennedy Jr. Vouches for Bitcoin While Rallying Against CBDCs
The latest person to jump on board the CBDC hate train was Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who officially filed papers to run as a Democrat in the 2024 presidential election last week.
In an April 11 Twitter thread, the nephew of former president John F. Kennedy rang alarm bells warning that CBDCs were the “ultimate mechanisms for social surveillance and control” and that they “grease the slippery slope to financial slavery and political tyranny.”
He was reacting to the Federal Reserve launching the FedNow payment network, which the central bank claimed wouldn’t be used to facilitate a digital dollar.
Kennedy discredited the Fed’s claims by saying that it would be more easily digestible were the people not aware of President Biden’s hostile actions against cryptocurrencies.
He also pointed out that in the fourteen years between 2008 and 2022, the Federal Reserve partnered with “a handful of big banks” to print $10 trillion, which he said was a bonanza for the banksters at the expense of the public. He asserted that the amount was equivalent to ten centuries of wealth.
Kennedy also referred to Coinmetrics co-founder Nic Carter’s post on Pirate Wires, a substack-based publication, describing how the White House organized bankers to participate in a “sophisticated” and “widespread” crackdown on the crypto industry.
Carter mentioned about 15 occasions where Biden ordered the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Department of Justice (DoJ), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to force crypto-friendly banks in the country to shut their doors to crypto clients.
The Democratic presidential hopeful said the recent crackdown on the crypto sector blocks fiat exit ramps and removes alternative payment rails while strengthening the government’s control over both the financial and political systems.
Kennedy argued that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin give the general public an escape route from the financial bubble created by the government and the bankers. He says the decentralized nature of Bitcoin and its ability to work outside of the traditional financial system makes it not subject to the same risks and vulnerabilities.
He said the White House was colluding with the corrupt bankers to keep Americans trapped in a bubble of “profiteering” and “control”.
FedNow is an instant payment system scheduled to launch in June that will allow financial institutions and businesses in the U.S. to transfer funds at faster speeds at any time of the day, on any day of the year. The network was released to provide a government-backed alternative to similar services offered by private entities.
The Fed has shot down rumours of the system being integrated with the upcoming digital dollar.
On April 8, the Fed went on Twitter to address a series of frequently asked questions where it said that no decisions were made regarding issuing a central bank digital currency, and such a decision would not happen without clear support from Congress and the executive branch. The central bank noted that an ideal situation would be in the form of specific authorizing law.
The Federal Reserve said the FedNow Service was neither a form of currency nor will it eliminate any form of payment, including cash. The Fed also declared that a CBDC would not replace cash or any other payment options.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Imposes Ban on CBDCs and Warns of Its Dangers
Responding to the Federal Reserve’s statement, Florida Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis said it was not “ideal” that major policy changes receive specific authorization from Congress. He stated that such decisions needed to be taken constitutionally.
The governor said “unaccountable institutions” like the Fed cannot impose CBDC on the American people and that the public is wise enough to know that if given the chance the federal government would abuse a digital currency.
On March 20, DeSantis introduced legislation to impose a ban on CBDCs from being used as a form of currency in the state of Florida. He cited concerns that the instrument can be used for surveillance and control over American citizens.
However, according to Aaron Klein, a former United States Treasury official, privacy-related concerns held by Robert F. Kennedy and Ron DeSantis were misplaced.
Speaking with NBC News on April 7, the chief economist at the Senate Banking Committee noted that financial institutions are already required to report their transaction data to the federal government under current anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws, and a CBDC would not abuse privacy any further.
On April 11, when Klein spoke to AFP Fact Check, he said that FedNow was purely focused on speeding up the Federal Reserve’s existing payment rails and that there was no difference in privacy or surveillance whether the user was using a Visa card or a CBDC. He added that FedNow and CBDCs have nothing to do with each other.