Prior to the Federal Reserve announcing it would release a discussion paper on a central bank digital currency, chairperson Jerome Powell met with Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.
According to Powell's meeting calendar which was made public on Friday, the Fed chair held a 30-minute meeting with Armstrong as well as former House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan on May 11. The reason for Ryan’s presence is unclear — the former speaker left politics in early 2019 and is now with private equity investment firm Solamere Capital.
While Powell’s schedule did not reveal the topics under discussion, Armstrong referenced the meeting in a Twitter thread on May 14. The Coinbase CEO said his goal in speaking to members of Congress and heads of various federal agencies was to help answer lawmakers’ questions about crypto and get more regulatory clarity for the technology in the United States.
At the time, Armstrong said he had voiced his opinions on China’s central bank digital currency, or CBDC, saying he believed it represented “a threat to U.S. reserve currency status long term if the U.S. doesn't move quickly to create their own.” A little more than a week later, Powell announced the Fed would be moving forward with research to implement a CBDC.
Prior to that announcement, the Fed chair had spoken extensively about the possible ramifications of releasing a CBDC in the United States, saying that he believed it was more important "to get it right than it is to be first." However, his May statement included a plan to release a discussion paper on CBDCs and digital payments sometime this summer.
While the U.S. government has not yet made a decision regarding a digital dollar, China is continuing to pilot its CBDC with giveaways in multiple provinces. Last month, 100,000 people in the Shenzhen region received $31 million worth of digital yuan, and were able to use ATMs to exchange their digital holdings for fiat.
Cointelegraph reached out to the Federal Reserve for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.