Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): A Basic Primer

Published November 30, 2023

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have only recently become a widely discussed topic among influential figures in academia, media, and public policy institutions. However, initiatives to implement CBDCs around the globe have existed for years, especially in countries with autocratic governments, such as China and Russia. As of September 2023, 131 countries have explored CBDCs. The Biden administration has also signaled that it’s supportive of a Federal Reserve-backed U.S. CBDC, a development that will be discussed further in a separate Tip Sheet.

 A U.S. CBDC would pose a significant threat to individual liberty, because it would allow central planners to engineer society in accordance with their every objective, with little accountability or oversight. However, before getting into the details surrounding CBDCs, it is important to understand what a CBDC is and why it is being pushed so hard by some of the most powerful institutions and leaders in the world.

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