Lawmakers have used the coronavirus crisis to revive the digital dollar debate. U.S. House and Senate bills proposed in March, which would allow individuals to hold checking accounts directly with the Federal Reserve, have renewed demand for a tech upgrade of the central bank’s issuance system.
Millions of U.S. taxpayers have waited for weeks for promised stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per person as the COVID-19 pandemic ripples into an economic crisis. While some received direct deposits in mid-April, those without bank accounts or a bank account on file with the Internal Revenue Service, who haven’t received a tax refund in recent years or who are married to an immigrant are still expecting that a check will arrive.
Proponents of digital dollars and central bank digital currencies say a digitized monetary system could solve the logistical question of how to quickly disburse large sums to many individuals with varying access to banking services. Others believe it would offer the state too much control.
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