Congressman calls for more transparency from the Fed on central bank digital currency work

U.S. Representative Tom Emmer said Thursday that the U.S. Federal Reserve should be more open about its research and development efforts focused on a central bank digital currency, or CBDC.

Emmer's comments came during an appearance of the House Financial Services Committee's The Task Force on Financial Technology, which met to discuss topics like the digital dollar in the emergency payments made during national crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During his open statements, Emmer touched upon the Fed's work, calling it "a process which I emphatically support but, unfortunately, have not received the level of public consideration and transparency that I think is fundamentally necessary for such a pursuit."

"The dollar is changing, and Americans deserve a full accounting of the work being done and the consideration they will have to make in ensuring that their leaders continue to guarantee their freedom and their methods of exchange."

In February, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said of the central bank's digital currency work: "We're working hard on it, we have a lot of projects going on, lot of efforts going on on that right now." Still, he stressed that the Fed had made no final decision on whether to move forward with such a launch.

During his opening remarks, Emmer stressed the need for new payment systems to be open and readily available, remarking that "cash is a public payments infrastructure."

Emmer is co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and has advanced a series of legislative bills focused on the technology.