Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida expected by many to throw his hat into the ring for the 2024 United States presidential race, has called for a ban on a digital dollar in the state.

Standing in front of a podium bearing the line “Big Brother’s Digital Dollar” at a March 20 press conference, DeSantis spoke out against the Federal Reserve issuing and controlling a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, in the United States, claiming the initiative would grant “more power” to the government. He cited concerns over inflation in the country, the Fed increasing interest rates, and pressure on banks as examples of government policies directly affecting U.S. consumers.

“[A CBDC] provides the government with a direct view of all consumer activities,” claimed the Florida governor. “Any way they can get into society to exercise their agenda, they will do it. So, what the central bank digital currency is all about is surveilling Americans and controlling behavior of Americans.”

DeSantis called on Florida lawmakers to introduce legislation aimed at prohibiting modifications to the state’s Uniform Commercial Code to encourage the adoption of a digital dollar as well as recognizing any foreign-issued CBDC. He asked “like-minded” U.S. states to propose similar restrictions on allowing CBDCs through Uniform Commercial Codes, adding that Texas was considering such legislation.

The Florida governor largely dismissed arguments in favor of the Fed issuing a digital dollar — environmental concerns and reaching the underbanked — without citing evidence. He pointed to China’s rollout of its digital yuan in an attempt “to monitor citizen behavior allowing for the surveillance of spending habits and to cut off access to goods and services” as well as how the governments of the Bahamas and Nigeria have handled CBDCs.

“You’re opening up a major can of worms, and you’re handing a central bank huge, huge amounts of power.”

Other conservative lawmakers in the U.S. have voiced similar concerns as DeSantis’ in trying to tamp down efforts by the Fed to release a CBDC. In February, Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, claiming the bill would protect Americans’ right to financial privacy by limiting the Fed’s authority over a digital dollar. 

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The city of Miami, in addition to hosting the “Bitcoin” conference, is home to many crypto and blockchain proponents, including Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano and Mayor Francis Suarez, who accepted some of his paychecks in Bitcoin (BTC). DeSantis said he aimed to have the CBDC legislation on his desk for approval sometime in 2023.