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Former CFTC Chair Urges CBDCs and Stablecoins to Champion Privacy and Liberty

The former CFTC chairman J. Christian Giancarlo, speaking at the FT Live Crypto and Digital Assets Summit, underscored the imperative for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins to embody freedom and privacy in their design.

Giancarlo, who led the CFTC from 2014 to 2019, emphasized the crucial roles of privacy and resistance to censorship in the digital currency realm.

Drawing parallels to the inception of the internet, Giancarlo recalled how nations like the U.S. and the U.K. pioneered an era of information openness that mirrored democratic values.

He asserted, “The free world and free people must again work together to make sure that the future of digital value networks reflects similar standards of financial freedom and economic liberty that are suitable for human worth and dignity.”

Currently heading the Digital Dollar Project, Giancarlo critiqued American leadership for its somewhat antagonistic regulatory stance towards cryptocurrencies. He advocated for the establishment of robust standards that champion human liberty across both sovereign and non-sovereign digital currencies.

Highlighting the transformative impact of the internet on various sectors — such as Wikipedia’s revolution of information aggregation and Amazon’s overhaul of retail — Giancarlo likened these shifts to those occurring within financial services through blockchain and cryptocurrency innovations.

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These technologies, he noted, have introduced enhanced efficiency, cost reductions, and new business m’}odels, fundamentally challenging traditional financial frameworks and intermediaries.

However, Giancarlo also posed a critical question about whether the emerging “internet of value” would promote or compromise economic liberty, referencing concerns about how dominant tech platforms have managed user data.

The adoption of CBDCs and public stablecoins is on the rise, as evidenced by significant global engagement; 134 countries, representing 98% of global GDP, are exploring CBDCs in 2024, a stark increase from 35% in 2020.

The transaction volume of stablecoins has soared to nearly match Visa’s settlement figures, and their market cap has escalated from $3 billion in 2019 to $138 billion in 2024.

Additionally, Bitcoin has outpaced the Swiss franc, ranking as the world’s 13th largest currency.

Giancarlo concluded by stressing the necessity for digital currencies to incorporate features that support individual privacy and guard against surveillance, ultimately serving the broader goals of financial inclusion and freedom.

He stated, “The public should be able to see for itself whether they’re being surveilled and whether they’re being manipulated.”

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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