Why Congress Will Be the Dollar’s Downfall

Congressional inaction is likely to cause de-dollarization as the country’s foes — and friends — move even faster to get off the U.S. dollar. Americans deserve to know what’s at risk so we can vote accordingly, and get the economy we deserve.

AccessTimeIconOct 17, 2023 at 2:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 18, 2023 at 1:35 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconOct 17, 2023 at 2:55 p.m. UTCUpdated Oct 18, 2023 at 1:35 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconOct 17, 2023 at 2:55 p.m. UTCUpdated Oct 18, 2023 at 1:35 p.m. UTC

If you are someone who cares about the future of America’s economy, you should take a minute to read this article.

Since you’re reading CoinDesk, you likely have a foundational understanding of cryptocurrency, stablecoins and digital assets. But if you’re an American who wants the dollar to remain dominant, you should also understand why it’s imperative these financial technologies be developed here, not abroad. Otherwise, these technologies will be used to end the dollar’s leadership in the global economy.

This op-ed is part of CoinDesk's State of Crypto Week, sponsored by Chainalysis. Amanda Wick is principal at Incite Consulting.

Too many people who should know better say de-dollarization isn’t a real concern. Rather than facts to support their view, they spout a long-unmerited, unbridled American exceptionalism. In reality, since Bretton Woods, America has enjoyed an unnatural advantage from global use of the dollar, which has masked our slide into toxic political polarization and democratic erosion.

The power of the dollar, which we probably haven’t deserved for 70 years (or at least since Nixon delinked our currency from gold in 1971), enabled the development of a completely broken political system, painting over the mold and decay our politics have become.

De-dollarization is a real concern having recently had a front-row seat at the national-level dialog on the subject. I have seen first-hand the massive problems we face as a country and watched as both political parties ignored them for perceived selfish gain.

From 2021 to 2022, I served on the House Select Committee working with a team of the world’s greatest investigators researching the many causes of the Jan. 6, 2020 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

And let’s be clear, there were many.

We tried to convey the clear and present danger of big tech companies, misinformation campaigns, polarization and the rise of extremism and hate groups. As the lead financial investigator, I looked into not only who funded the attack, but also how right wing extremism was funded, how our financial system responded (or didn’t), and what recommendations could help prevent future attacks.

Most of these findings were omitted from the final report. Consequently, I rarely speak about that year of my life, mostly because of the depression and fear for the future it evokes. But we are hurtling towards de-dollarization too quickly to remain quiet.

With every article, op-ed and blog post explaining the rise of alternative currencies, the risks they pose to dollar dominance, and the need for congressional action, I see countless canaries dying in the coal mine of a dollar-led global financial system.

I think back to all the findings and legislative recommendations we made that never saw the light of day and how little Congress has done to address any of the major problems we identified. We had a chance to warn America how Jan. 6 was simply a piece of the paint peeling off and what had been growing underneath for 70 years prior was terrifying.

But Congress just kept painting. What do I mean?

Imagine we were tasked with investigating the cause of a massive wildfire with a goal of preventing future wildfires. Our investigation found there was a dry forest located in a highly populated area where people dragged dry wood for years, strategically stacking it to burn hotter and higher, and then doused with kerosene, yet the committee's final report blamed it all on the person with a match.

Don’t get me wrong, as a former federal prosecutor, I certainly believe the person with the match should be held fully accountable. However, if the investigative report detailing the causes of that wildfire — which is supposed to help us prevent the next wildfire — ignores all of the other causes, then what we have left is a forest that remains filled with dry wood, strategically stacked for a bad burn, covered in the same kerosene, ready and waiting for the next arsonist who may be smart enough to bring a flamethrower.

Pretending the individual with the match is the only cause is more paint covering our problems.

If you’re paying attention to what is happening in the U.S. right now, across many sectors — advertising, social media, generative AI, for-profit journalism — you'll see there are countless canaries warning us about the direction we are headed in, including the suppression of digital asset technology innovation and de-dollarization’s impact on national security.

Congress needs to stop painting over problems and start fixing them.

In a world without dollar dominance, left uncorrected, our real problems lead to a geopolitical landscape in which the U.S. cannot win in a fair fight to remain an economic superpower.

If you’re a fan of democracy and the concept of what America could be — as opposed to who she is now — you should be reading everything you can about that forest and asking how you too can prevent fires. Call your elected federal and state representatives and demand action, and keep the pressure on not letting digital asset innovation slip in the U.S. This is how you, as a citizen, can help prevent de-dollarization.

Maybe we can’t dismantle all the pieces of wood at once, but we should start with the one that’s most flammable. If Americans collectively do nothing, losing dollar dominance will cause us to feel inflation and a national debt crisis in a way we have never felt before.

Call now. Time is of the essence. We are a country that only remains strong because of the dollar — without it, we'd have already burned.

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The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

Amanda Wick

Amanda Wick is principal at Incite Consulting.