In a recent media interaction, Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, said that the state would soon move against any kind of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). He added that lawmakers are advancing with legislation that could be on his desk within “the next couple of weeks.”
As the US general approaches, DeSantis is widely considered a possible presidential candidate in next year’s election. DeSantis and Donald Trump have found to be engaged in an inter-party rivalry for the Republican candidate for POTUS (president of the US). It will be interesting to see what the future holds for crypto and CBDCs if DeSantis is nominated.
Speaking at a recent press conference, the governor highlighted the problems that a CBDC brings with itself including independence and the power to make financial decisions. He said that “Florida rejects the idea of a CBDC.”
Explaining his opinions, DeSantis added that via CBDCs, governments take charge of people’s wallets and make decisions instead of them. He provided an example of this as well wherein he stated if a person “just gets fined, the authorities will just take it right out of your digital currency, without any due process or anything like that.” This gives the government a huge amount of power over one’s economic self-sufficiency and independence.
Notably, the Republican lawmaker has been one of the avid critics of CBDCs and has been more supportive of cryptocurrencies because the government has no control over them. He previously accused President Joe Biden of eyeing the technology for “surveillance and control.” To prevent CBDCs from coming into the state, in March he also proposed legislation that would outlaw CBDCs in the state.
I don’t think Congress would authorize it. But if the Fed or the Treasury tries to do it unilaterally, in Florida, we’ll have a prohibition against that. And I think that that’s ensuring your financial independence and making sure that we don’t have a financial surveillance state, where they know every transaction that you’re making.
Referring to the ongoing Coinbase versus the Securities and Exchange Commission which triggered talks of the regulator having an antagonistic approach towards crypto entities, DeSantis said:
They want to get rid of crypto. They don’t like crypto because they can’t control crypto, so they want to put everything in a central bank digital currency.
In addition, he said that he is not exactly suggesting people invest in crypto but the choice of doing so must rest with them. He said that “My view is like, if you want to invest in crypto, it’s up to you. You can do it. I mean, like, you can make those decisions.”
Notably, DeSantis first opposed CBDCs last year, but he has previously taken a friendlier approach toward decentralized tokens and has said he was working on ways for Floridians to pay taxes with crypto.
The CBDCs have been a talk topic among the lawmakers in the country. While the Biden administration has developed policy objectives for a possible CBDC system in the U.S., with the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department both conducting research in the area, some lawmakers have consistently criticized the idea.
On Wednesday, North Carolina’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that seeks to prevent the state’s agencies and institutions from accepting payments in CBDCs. The bill also bans the state from participating in any pilot tests CBDCs.
Considering the political divide that is prevalent in the US, Republican lawmakers have often stood against the idea of CBDCs. Rep. Tom Emmer said CBDCs could be weaponized as a political tool. He added that CBDCs pose a danger to privacy, individual autonomy, and free markets.