The framework also points to the potential for “significant benefits” from a U.S. central bank digital currency, or CBDC, which you can think of as a digital form of the U.S. dollar.

Right now, there are several different types of digital U.S. dollars.

Sitting in commercial bank accounts across the country are electronic U.S. dollars, which are partially backed by reserves, under a system known as fractional-reserve banking. As the name implies, the bank holds in its reserves a fraction of the bank’s deposit liabilities. Transferring this form of money from one bank to another or from one country to another operates on legacy financial rails.

There are also a spate of USD-pegged stablecoins, including Tether and USD Coin. Although critics have questioned whether tether has enough dollar reserves to back its currency, it remains the largest stablecoin on the planet. USD Coin is backed by fully reserved assets, redeemable on a 1:1 basis for U.S. dollars, and governed by Centre, a consortium of regulated financial institutions. It is also relatively easy to use no matter where you are.

Then there’s the hypothetical digital dollar that would be the Federal Reserve’s take on a CBDC. This would essentially just be a digital twin of the U.S. dollar: Fully regulated, under a central authority, and with the full faith and backing of the country’s central bank.

“A dollar in CBDC form is a liability of the central bank. The Federal Reserve has to pay you back,” said Ronit Ghose, who heads fintech and digital assets at Citi Global Insights.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell previously said the main incentive for the U.S. to launch its own central bank digital currency would be to eliminate the use case for crypto coins in America.

“You wouldn’t need stablecoins; you wouldn’t need cryptocurrencies, if you had a digital U.S. currency,” Powell said. “I think that’s one of the stronger arguments in its favor.”

In the White House’s new framework, it points to the fact that a U.S. CBDC could enable a payment system that is “more efficient, provides a foundation for further technological innovation, facilitates faster cross-border transactions, and is environmentally sustainable.”

“It could promote financial inclusion and equity by enabling access for a broad set of consumers,” continues the report.

To that end, the administration urges the Fed to continue its ongoing research, experimentation and evaluation of a CBDC.

This content was originally published here.

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