The U.S. 2024 presidential election is already heating up, as multiple prospective candidates have already declared their candidacy. Two of the frontrunners come in the form of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Ron DeSantis, and the two are distinguished due to their shared stance on the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the United States.
Kennedy, DeSantis Oppose FedNow: Privacy vs. Financial Slavery
Kennedy – the nephew of the iconic late President John F. Kennedy – has declared his opposition to the Federal Reserve’s proposed ‘FedNow’ payment system, which would enable rapid payment transfers using mobile devices, and has claimed it is a slippery slope to “financial slavery and political tyranny.” Meanwhile, Florida’s Governor DeSantis – also a prospective candidate for 2024 – has taken this a step further, demanding a ban on CBDCs in Florida, once again citing privacy issues.
Kennedy vs. DeSantis: Ideological Divide on FedNow and CBDCs
Despite their shared position on the FedNow and CBDC issues, the opposition of each man is rooted in different ideologies. Kennedy – a Democrat – aligns himself closer with the rival political party and leader of the executive branch, current President Joe Biden, while DeSantis – a Republican – has more of a vested interest in actively challenging the president’s policies. DeSantis has also claimed that CBDCs would be comparable to China’s ‘e-CNY’ digital currency, through which the central bank allegedly monitors and controls its citizens’ activity and access to goods and services.
CBDCs: No More Privacy Than Existing Systems
Aaron Klein, a former U.S. Treasury official and chief economist at the Senate Banking Committee, has spoken out against the arguments of Kennedy and DeSantis, claiming that such privacy-related fears are misplaced. He argues that financial institutions are already required to report transaction data under existing anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws, and that CBDCs would therefore not encroach on any more privacy than the current payments systems in place.
Bitcoin vs. CBDC: 2024 Presidential Election Battle
Despite the opinions of Kennedy and DeSantis, Klein’s view seems to be the more popular opinion among the U.S. financial community. As such, should Kennedy and DeSantis being vying for the same 2024 presidential nomination, the CBDC issue could prove to be an important distinguishing factor between the two; one pushing for a privacy-abiding CBDC, while the other fighting against it. The Biden administration has also been open to debating a national digital currency, meaning that Kennedy and DeSantis could have a long road ahead of them when it comes to the ‘Bitcoin vs. CBDC’ battle for the 2024 presidential election.
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