No, FedNow Payments are Not a Digital Currency

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The Federal Reserve is launching a new instant payments service called FedNow in July 2023. However, there is apparently a common misconception that FedNow is a form of digital currency or a step towards eliminating cash. On April 7, the Fed felt it had to release a statement to say that a central bank digital currency (CBDC) was not currently in process.

“[FedNow] is like other Federal Reserve payments services, such as Fedwire and FedACH,” the Fed wrote. “FedNow will be available to depository institutions, such as banks and credit unions, in the United States and will enable individuals and businesses to send instant payments through their depository institution accounts. Instant payments allow individuals and businesses to send and receive payments within seconds at any time of the day, on any day of the year, so that the receiver of a payment can use the funds almost instantly.”

FedNow could offer a compelling usecase in the alternative lending industry but that will remain to be seen. In the meantime, as far as CBDCs go, the Fed says that it would need support from Congress and the executive branch “ideally in the form of a specific authorizing law” to consider issuing one. CBDCs have been a popular subject as of late given the total control they could give a governmental authority over its money. Among the potential capabilities would be the power to technologically deactivate or cancel anyone’s money if the government felt it was it being used for some unlawful purpose.

Last modified: April 9, 2023

Category: cryptocurrency

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