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Former CFTC Chair launches Digital Dollar Project in partnership with Accenture

Fri, 17 Jan 2020, 06:19 am UTC

J. Christopher Giancarlo, former Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), along with Charles Giancarlo and Daniel Gorfine, has partnered with Accenture on a new initiative to push for a United States central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Called the Digital Dollar Project, the initiative aims to encourage research and public discussion on the potential advantages of a digital dollar, convene private sector thought leaders and actors, and propose possible models to support the public sector.

Chris Giancarlo said that a digital dollar would help “future-proof” the greenback, enabling individuals and global enterprises to make payments in dollars anytime, anywhere.

“We are launching the Digital Dollar Project to catalyze a digital, tokenized U.S. currency that would coexist with other Federal Reserve liabilities and serve as a settlement medium to meet the demands of the new digital world and a cheaper, faster and more inclusive global financial system,” he added.

Digital Dollar Foundation and Accenture

The project will be supported by the Digital Dollar Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, formed by Chris and Charles Giancarlo and Daniel Gorfine. The Foundation has teamed up with Accenture as lead architect and technology innovation partner.

Chris Giancarlo said that Accenture was the “obvious choice” for the project, highlighting the firm’s collaborations with central banks, including the Bank of Canada, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the European Central Bank, and Sweden’s Riksbank on similar efforts.

“Central Bank Digital Currency is a key enabler for the modernization of financial systems and will drive material economic and social improvements and form the basis for a wave of new innovation,” said David Treat, senior managing director and global Blockchain lead at Accenture.

The Digital Dollar

According to a press release, the CBDC would be backed by the Federal Reserve. It would offer new scope and possibilities for the secure and instantaneous settlement in dollars through consumer banks and trusted payment intermediaries.

“The aim of a CBDC is to be portable, in a digital format, and able to send as easily as a text,” the release said.

The project partners emphasized that the digital dollar will have to preserve and offer full integration with the existing financial system. The innovation should lower costs, boost security and transparency, as well as serve an effective digital settlement medium both at national and international levels. The ultimate goal is to make the dollar a better currency globally.

Immediate steps

The project will be carried out in a phased manner. The initial phase will focus on initial designs and proposals for a dollar CBDC and will enlist the participation of individual economists, business leaders, technologists, innovators, lawyers, academics, consumer advocacy and human rights experts, and ethicists.

The design options and approaches for creating a digital dollar will be done through a deliberative process, including stakeholder meetings, roundtable discussions, and open forums. It would be based on careful consideration of core governmental interests, support for existing Fed related projects, and a focus on a set of key guiding principles.

“These principles will be tested against a wide range of stakeholder needs and use case requirements to ensure that design inputs for a digital dollar optimize its value; adhere to core U.S. legal, security, privacy, economic and cultural requirements, and serve to advance the needs of global financial systems and consumers,” the release added.

Going forward, the project will develop a framework consisting of potential, practical steps to establish a dollar CBDC.

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