Florida has passed legislation to prohibit the use of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), making it the first US state to do so. Governor Ron DeSantis announced the move on Twitter, stating that the new law would prevent the recognition of CBDCs by Florida. While the new law applies to all CBDCs, the focus of DeSantis’ rhetoric has been on the potential for a digital dollar via President Biden’s administration. In the emerging divide in American politics, a school of thought popular among libertarian Republicans sees CBDCs as a form of government surveillance. They argue that CBDCs should not be allowed because it takes away from personal privacy.
Florida’s stance on CBDCs has positioned them as a blocker of innovation and a transfer of power to the state. Opponents argue that this will inevitably stifle innovation and disempower the private sector. Meanwhile, in Canada, the leader of the Conservative Party is also arguing that state-backed digital currencies lead to nationalization and that the innovation of digital currency should be left to private enterprises. Florida’s move to prohibit CBDCs plays into the hands of crypto evangelists and Bitcoin enthusiasts as decentralized cryptocurrencies are seen by many as a means of protecting economic autonomy and disempowering centralised banks.