U.S. Federal Reserve Is Studying Feasibility Of A Digital Currency

The U.S. Federal Reserve said it is studying whether to implement its own digital currency and will be releasing a paper on the issue shortly.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said no decision has been made on the matter yet, and the American central bank does not feel pressured to do something quickly as other nations move forward with their own digital currencies.

“I think it’s more important to do this right than to do it fast,” said Powell.

Establishing a digital dollar has been on the Fed’s radar for more than a year, and it announced in May it would launch a deeper examination into the issue with a paper to follow.

The Boston Fed has taken point on the project, joining with MIT in an initiative on whether the central bank should establish its own digital coin targeted at making the payments system more effective.

Advocates say a central bank digital currency’s benefits would include getting payments quickly to people in times of crisis and providing services to the unbanked.

A drumbeat supporting digital currencies has been building as central banks, most notably China, have begun the first stages of implementation.

Some concerns have been raised that if the Fed does not act more aggressively, the dollar’s position as the global reserve currency could be challenged.

Powell noted the dollar’s position in the world and said the Fed is “in a good place” to make a decision on whether to implement its own digital currency. He expressed some concern about the regulatory landscape and said the Fed likely will need congressional permission should it decide to proceed.

“Where the public’s money is concerned, we need to make sure that appropriate regulatory protections are in place,” Powell said.