Comments pouring into the Fed and other authorities over the CBDC issue expose deep fault lines between traditional banks and payments institutions and fintech players eager to exploit a completely new digital money opportunity. The Federal Reserve is at the center of the scrum.
Even though the distance between a central bank digital currency in the U.S. in concept and in reality is wide, the viewpoints of different parts of the financial services industry towards the possibility of a Federal Reserve “digital dollar” have begun to solidify.
Broadly, the traditional banking and credit union industries see an American CBDC as a threat — indeed, many seem to see it as an existential threat. Among fintechs, on the other hand, a CBDC is being seen as an opportunity to grow participation in what in theory could become a major part of the payments mainstream.
Payments organizations like Visa and Mastercard have also been weighing in, in part clearly trying to maintain a role for companies like themselves in any future system where a digital dollar becomes a reality.
While the Federal Reserve leads the way on CBDC, other parts of the government, including the Treasury Department and the Department of Commerce, have been involved, notably since the Biden administration issued an executive order on digital assets, which covered CBDC development.