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Former President Donald Trump Pledges to Block CBDCs If He Returns to Power

Former President and front-runner in the Republican leadership race, Donald Trump, has promised to ban the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) during a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Jan. 17, 2024.

Trump, who is seeking to regain the White House in the 2024 election, made the bold statement on stage, joined by crypto-friendly former candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who recently suspended his campaign and endorsed Trump. Ramaswamy, a billionaire entrepreneur and author, is known for his pro-crypto views and advocacy for decentralized finance (DeFi).

“As your president, I will never allow the creation of a central bank digital currency,” Trump said to a cheering crowd. “This would be a dangerous threat to freedom, and I will stop it from coming to America,” he continued. “Such a currency would give a federal government, absolute control over your money. They could take your money, and you wouldn’t even know it was gone.”

CBDCs are digital versions or tokenized versions of cash that are issued and regulated by central banks that may or may not use blockchain as an underlying technology. CBDCs are intended to enhance the efficiency, security, and inclusiveness of the existing monetary system, as well as to counter the rise of private cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether.

However, Trump argued that CBDCs would pose a serious risk to the privacy and sovereignty of the American people, and that they would undermine the role of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. He also claimed that CBDCs would enable the government to manipulate the money supply and the inflation rate, and to impose negative interest rates or confiscatory taxes on the citizens.

Trump’s stance on CBDCs is in stark contrast with his previous position on crypto, which he once dismissed as a “scam” and a “threat” to the U.S. dollar. According to an August 2023 disclosure, Trump owned over $2.5 million in Ether, the native token of Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and the leading platform for DeFi applications. Trump reportedly bought Ether in late 2022, when the price was around $3,000, and has since seen his investment grow by more than 300%.

While there’s currently no proposal from the Federal Reserve to introduce a CBDC, this hasn’t stopped it from becoming a hot issue in U.S. politics, particularly on the campaign trail. CBDCs have emerged as one of the hottest topics for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office, generating more public interest than the usual wedge issues of gun rights and abortion. DeSantis, a Republican and a close ally of Trump, has expressed his support for the development of a CBDC, as well as for the adoption of crypto and blockchain in the state.

DeSantis has also appointed a Chief Blockchain Officer, Caitlin Long, a former Wall Street executive and a pioneer of the crypto industry, to oversee the state’s efforts to become a hub for crypto innovation and regulation. Long, who is also the founder and CEO of Avanti Bank, a Wyoming-based digital asset bank, has praised DeSantis for his vision and leadership on crypto matters.

The debate over CBDCs is likely to intensify as the 2024 election approaches, as different candidates and parties will have different views and agendas on the future of money and finance. The U.S. is also facing increasing pressure from other countries, such as China, which has already launched its own CBDC, the digital yuan, and is testing it in various scenarios and regions. The U.S. will have to decide whether to join the global trend of CBDCs, or to stick to its traditional monetary system and embrace the private crypto sector.

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