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Will Digital Yuan be a Blueprint for Digital Dollars?

China has impulsed central bank digital currency (CBDC) technology with its digital yuan—but the technology could raise privacy concerns in the U.S.

As the cryptocurrency sector grows, outsiders remain suspicious of the blockchain space for its lack of regulation and a persistent stigma around fraudulent activity. SEC commissioner Hester M. Peirce sat down with Roundtable's Rob Nelson to discuss the process of regulating crypto.

In this segment, Peirce discusses central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and surveillance.

Peirce observes that CBDCs may not be the best complement to the American ethos—but other technologies could work similarly.

"We should look first and see are there private options, since that's how we tend to like to do things here in the United States," Peirce said. "Private stable coins might be a more American alternative to a CBDC."

While China has pioneered the use of CBDCs, its technology raises questions around government tracking of financial activity.

"People want to have an ability to not have their transactions visible to everyone and certainly not to be tracked by a government," Peirce said. "Privacy is key, whether we're talking about the Chinese government or our government."

Peirce agrees that cryptocurrency provides opportunities to foster greater consumer choice and innovation, but maintaining privacy and sovereignty is key.

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"People all over the world really do care about having, having sovereignty over their decision making," she said. "One of the values we're trying to promote is the ability for people to be able to make decisions for themselves."

From the regulation side, Peirce notes, the ability to monitor crypto transactions can be appealing. But she cautions against exploiting the transparency of the blockchain.

"It's one thing if there's a reason to think that someone's engaged in wrongdoing, but for the average person, we want to preserve the ability that she has to transact without being watched," Peirce explained. "We have to resist our impulse to use the technology in a way that would allow us to watch everything that everyone does."

Roundtable Guests:

Hester M. Peirce, SEC Commissioner

Watch the full discussion here: