For immediate release: February 22, 2023


The following statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (they/she), Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future:

“Rep. Emmer is correct that a poorly-built digital dollar would cement surveillance and extremely concerning economic controls into our daily lives. We also agree on the need for the government to be transparent about CBDC projects—but where this bill falls short is in positioning the private sector as the sole option for intermediating digital dollar transactions. From Wells Fargo to Venmo, invasive surveillance and censorious morality policing is rampant—and it is putting vulnerable communities including activists and abortion patients in danger. 

A digital dollar that is sufficiently well built and privacy-preserving could be intermediated by anyone, including the government. The well-executed digital dollar the US deserves would provide the same level of privacy that cash has offered for millennia, by design. We need real alternatives with end-to-end encryption level privacy baked into the code itself. To put it mildly, cash-grade privacy protections would be a difficult sell to the financial corporations that make so much money from abusing the intimate personal data of everyday people. 

Financial surveillance, whether done by the government or financial institutions, treats everyone as if we are guilty until proven innocent and as if privacy is not a fundamental human right. In Emmer’s statements around this legislation, there is a further tension between the inherent lack of privacy in a public blockchain ledger and the bill’s privacy-preserving goals. This also needs to be explored with a critical eye. We’re going to have to send Rep. Emmer back to the drawing board on portions of this bill—preferably in a room in which big banking and crypto lobbyists aren’t playing a game of sardines.”