Former President Donald Trump expressed heavy skepticism about the security of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which he has vowed to block, in an interview released Friday, though he personally owns $3 million in cryptocurrency himself, according to Forbes’ estimate, and hawks a line of NFT trading cards.
Trump said a so-called “digital dollar” would be “very dangerous,” claiming it could create a situation where money suddenly disappears from people’s bank accounts, he told Fox News in response to a question about his plans to block the Federal Reserve from formally issuing a digital currency.
The statements echo a similar claim Trump made in New Hampshire last month, where he told a crowd he would “never allow the creation of a central bank digital currency,” calling it a “dangerous threat to freedom.”
While Trump has his own personal investments in digital currency, he was critical of the industry during his presidency, calling it “highly volatile,” though Republicans’ have proposed crypto-friendly regulations and Trump, if re-elected, is likely appoint regulators who would be more aligned with digital asset firms than the Biden administration, which is largely skeptical of the industry.
The Federal Reserve has not expressed a definitive stance on digital currency, but has been exploring the possibility amid the explosion of private crypto and concerns that it could morph into an unregulated currency system outside of the federal government’s purview.
Trump pivoted to artificial intelligence in responding to the question about digital currency in the interview, calling AI “maybe the most dangerous thing out there of anything, because there is no real solution,” he said in a preview of the interview, set to be released in full on Sunday.
“The AI as they call it . . . is so scary,” he said, referencing a fake speech he recently saw of himself promoting a product he “never endorsed.”
Trump, in his New Hampshire speech, likened the creation of a central bank digital currency to a form of “government tyranny,” warning it would give the federal government the ability to “take your money.” The Biden Administration issued a 2022 executive order that ordered government agencies to develop policy recommendations and a potential framework for regulating digital assets. The process for developing a central bank digital currency could take years, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress last year, emphasizing that it has not made a decision on its feasibility and is still assessing the public’s appetite for such a system, which would require approval from Congress and the executive branch, Powell said.
In his New Hampshire speech, Trump credited his former opponent, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, for warning him of the dangers of a Central Bank Digital Currency. Ramaswamy, who dropped out of the race after the Iowa primary and endorsed Trump, is among the names being floated as Trump’s potential running mate pick, as he is all-but-certain to clinch the GOP nomination, potentially as soon as March. Ramaswamy has also said a central bank digital currency would create “a mechanism for the government to be able to wipe out your bank account, wipe out your dollars if you say or do something the government disapproves of” calling it “a threat to liberty in this country.”
Eleven countries have established a central bank currency, citing plummeting cash usage, increased accessibility, lower infrastructure costs and improved security. More than 100 countries are currently exploring the option.