U.S. House Passes Bill Banning Federal Reserve From Issuing a CBDC

The bill's prospects in the Senate are unclear, however.

AccessTimeIconMay 23, 2024 at 6:37 p.m. UTC
Updated May 23, 2024 at 6:40 p.m. UTC

The U.S. House of Representatives voted largely along party lines to prevent the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency.

The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, introduced by Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), seeks to block the U.S. central bank from continuing efforts toward the development of a digital dollar. Republicans expressed concerns that a U.S. CBDC could be used to control Americans.

Democrats said during debate before Thursday's vote that the concerns were overblown and a ban would block public sector innovation and research. Overall, 213 Republicans and three Democrats voted for the bill, while 192 Democrats voted against it.

Thursday's vote count is a far cry from a vote the day before, when 71 Democrats joined 208 Republicans in voting for the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, a crypto market structure bill that would give the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission greater spot market authority over digital assets and spells out how another key U.S. markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, can approach the sector.

Industry participants hailed Wednesday's vote, the first for a bill focused solely on crypto market issues, as a sign that the sector was finally receiving recognition as being significant.

"The House passage of FIT21 represents a watershed moment and badge of Congressional validation for the crypto industry in the United States," said Kristin Smith, who heads up the Blockchain Association, an industry lobby group.

Nicole Valentine, the director of FinTech at the Milken Institute, similarly called the passage a "welcome step."

However, both the market structure and the anti-CBDC bills seem headed toward similar fates in the Senate – going nowhere – given that half of congress does not have a counterpart for either piece of legislation.

Edited by Nick Baker.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies 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 with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.