Banking News

Congress pushes Digital Dollar in another COVID-19 stimulus bill

digital currency dollar

Yesterday the U.S. Congress published another COVID-19 bill, the “Automatic Boost to Communities Act” (ABC Act). Previous Bills in March from Democrats in Congress and the Senate suggested distributing immediate cash relief using Digital Dollars, but this wasn’t practical timing wise. Instead, the latest Bill proposes that Digital Dollar wallets should be available by the start of 2021.

The Bill demands a universal basic income (UBI) of $2,000 per month during the crisis and, after that $1,000 per month for a year. To be financed by the issue of two trillion in dollar “coins”.

“Real people, not corporations need to be at the center of any legislative relief effort to combat the harms caused by this global pandemic. Too many of our workers, low-income people and families across the country were instantly impacted and we need to have an aggressive and inclusive financial assistance program,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. 

There have been problems with distributing stimulus payments as reported yesterday by the Washington Post and CNBC.

Hence the new Bill proposes multiple payment routes for the UBI payments. Initially, these include direct bank account payments or alternatively a BOOST prepaid debit card. Then come January, the money could be added to a Digital Dollar wallet.

Like the previous Democrat Bills, the Digital Dollar wallet is branded as a “FedAccount”, which would be available at local banks and Post Offices. These accounts would have no fees and also include mobile banking and ATM access at post offices.

But this time it goes a step further and says after the COVID-19 UBI payments finish there should be Digital Dollar Cash Wallets or eCash Wallets which can receive ecash and are compatible with FedAccounts.

Additionally, it suggests the formation of a Digital Financial Privacy Board to ensure digital cash retains the same anonymity as physical cash.

There has been some confusion that these Bills are somehow related to to the Digital Dollar Foundation. This is a project initiated by the former Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) J. Christopher Giancarlo, who believes that the U.S. needs a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

We previously interviewed David Treat from Accenture, the partner in the Digital Dollar Foundation, and he said that they were not involved or consulted for the two March Bills.

At the time, Treat said: “It is not something that can be done in weeks. We’re at the beginning of this journey in terms of what we’re calling a Digital Dollar.” 


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