US lawmakers want to trial a digital dollar

(Image credit: Future)

Worried about the rise of cryptocurrencies, lawmakers in the US Congress are pushing to start testing a digital dollar, something being trialed in other countries. 

The Electronic Currency and Secure Hardware (ECASH) Act, introduced by Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA), directs the US Treasury to begin testing a digital USD.

Of course, the odds of the bill passing are low – especially given how inactive Congress errs towards being – but it shows a growing acceptance that crypto is here to stay and the US should look at its options. 

"As digital payment and currency technologies continue to rapidly expand and with Russia, China, and over 90 countries worldwide already researching and launching some form of Central Bank Digital Currency, it is absolutely critical for the US to remain a world leader in the development and regulation of digital currency and other digital assets," said Rep. Lynch. 

The ECASH act is co-sponsored by Reps. Jesús García (D-IL), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Alma Adams (D-NC), meaning no Republican has supported the bill as it stands. 

The rise of digital currencies 

Cryptocurrency hitting the mainstream over the past couple of years has got a lot of lawmakers, central banks, and regulators around the world scratching their heads.

China, for example, has been extensively testing its e-CNY, a digital version of the yuan, including making it one of the accepted forms of payment at the Beijing Olympics. Switzerland, too, is getting in on the action for inter-bank transfers.

According to the Atlantic Council, which tracks the progress of digital currencies around the world, around 40 countries are in the research stage, nine have launched a currency, 15 are piloting one, and 16 are developing one. 

How all of this testing actually works out remains to be seen, but the fact that so many countries feel the need too is interesting, especially in the face of the rising demand for cryptocurrencies. 

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.