The Digital Dollar Project ratcheted up its calls for the U.S. to get serious about a central bank digital currency (CBDC) Monday with the release of nine “pilot” scenarios that it said would put a CBDC to the test.

  • Accounting for wide swaths of fundamentally different potential digital currency end users (from the rural unbanked to Wall Street's financial giants), the proposal seeks to game out every use case for a U.S. CBDC.
  • For example, one pilot envisions the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, which oversees the trillion-dollar plumbing undergirding U.S capital markets, testing atomic settlement procedures for tokenized cash and tokenized securities.
  • Another proposal would seek to “technologically” prove that mobile wallets could comply with stringent federal banking laws even in rural and unbanked communities. Additionally, it would attempt to “functionally” prove that digital wallets are better alternatives to those communities’ existing financial infrastructure.
  • Each situation gets a "current state," a hypothetical "future state" and an accompanying CBDC pilot proposal to highlight specific considerations.
  • None of the proposals are actually in motion yet. Such a move would come from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Stakeholders there have made clear that while a digital dollar is being discussed, it is far from a done deal.
  • Nonetheless, digital dollar proponents said the CBDC pilots will help prompt more nuanced discussions about digital currency's specific challenges.
  • Christopher Giancarlo, former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, leads the project, a collaboration of his Digital Dollar Foundation and the U.S. consultancy Accenture.
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