May 19, 2024


Natalie Smolenski is a senior advisor at the Bitcoin Policy Institute and executive director of the Texas Bitcoin Foundation, and Dan Held is a Bitcoin educator and marketing advisor at Trust Machines.

This article is an excerpt from the Bitcoin Policy Institute whitepaper “Why the U.S. Should Reject Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs),” written by Natalie Smolenski with Dan Held.

CBDCs are digital cash. Unlike traditional (physical) cash, which can be transacted anonymously, digital cash is fully programmable. This means that CBDCs enable central banks to have direct insight into the identities of transacting parties and can block or censor any transaction. Central banks argue that they need this power in order to combat money laundering, fraud, terrorist financing and other criminal activities. But as we will see below, the ability of governments to meaningfully combat financial crimes using existing anti-money laundering and know your customer laws (“AML/KYC”) has proven woefully inadequate, at best, while effectively eliminating financial privacy for billions of people.


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