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数字美元能否在隐私方面有竞争力? 美联储主席鲍威尔暗示可能

2020-2-13 13:59

 

美国联邦储备委员会(Federal Reserve)主席杰罗姆·鲍威尔(Jerome Powell)给金融隐私的支持者们带来了一线希望,并暗示美国可能会在未来数字化美元的地位上具有竞争力。


在本周国会听证会上,鲍威尔被问及美联储是否对中国发展中央银行数字货币(CBDC)的进展有任何“可见性”。


“是的,我们当然有,”鲍威尔说。“但他们处在一个完全不同的制度环境中。比如,有一个账簿,你知道每个人的支付,这在美国不是特别有吸引力。这在中国不是问题。”


对于那些不仅被中国的威权方式吓到、还被Libra可能带来的隐私风险吓到的人来说,这些话是受欢迎的。


“鲍威尔暗示任何数字货币实现在美国必须保护隐私或privacy-respecting,和没有提供另一种方法监测CBDC阿拉巴马州中国政府的计划,为政府提供了一个后门监视事务,”伊丽莎白说m . Renieris研究员克莱恩哈佛大学伯克曼互联网与社会中心。


Renieris在一封电子邮件中说:“这应该会让美国人安心,否则他们会发现自己越来越有可能受到政府通过移动位置数据、面部识别系统和执法部门获取社交媒体活动的广泛监控。”


电子前沿基金会(Electronic Frontier Foundation)的首席项目官雷尼·雷特曼(Rainey Reitman)也同样赞同鲍威尔承认的“试图在美国创建一种国家运营的加密货币的真实风险”。


“与你的金融交易相关的记录可以保存你在某一特定时间的所有线索,从你的医疗状况到你的政治立场,再到你的所在地,”雷特曼在电子邮件中说。“当我们看到加密货币和整个社会向金融交易数字化的转变时,我们必须在技术和监管体系中建立隐私价值观。”

继续谨慎


可以肯定的是,鲍威尔表示,美联储仍处于研究数字货币的早期阶段,并没有明确表示美联储是否会发行数字货币。


“在金融体系的核心拥有单一的政府货币,这对我们很有好处。这是一件非常、非常基本的事情,从来没有受到过质疑。我认为,在我们摆脱这个问题之前,我们应该真正了解我们在做什么。”“保持一种被广泛接受和信任的中央货币的中心地位,是一件极其重要的事情。”


这与他之前在去年12月发表的言论一致,他的言论让雷尼里斯松了一口气。


她表示:“实际上,这意味着美联储可能还需要许多年的时间,才能披露其迄今为止在数字美元研发方面的任何细节,因为我们希望,在正式宣布或推出任何一种货币之前,会进行多轮的公众咨询。”“也就是说,除非我们真的走中国的路,自上而下地实施这一计划。”

卖点


但是鲍威尔并不是第一个在潜在的数字美元背景下提出隐私问题的华盛顿老手。


美国商品期货交易委员会(CFTC)前主席、现为电子美钞倡导者的詹卡洛(Christopher Giancarlo)将美国宪法的保护措施吹捧为一种差异。


在最近CoinDesk的一次视频采访中,Giancarlo描述了一个数字美元与电子人民币和天秤座竞争的场景。


他在达沃斯世界经济论坛(World Economic Forum)间隙表示:“一个政府会想要了解每一笔交易,尤其是与政治对手、自由运动的交易。”“其中一家运营商会想知道每一笔商业交易,想知道你是和塔吉特购物还是和诺德斯特龙购物。其中一个提供者将被宪法限制收集这两种信息中的任何一种。那个人将是美国政府。”


因此,“人们可以看到一个[美国]。与其他政府或商业机构提供的中央银行货币相比,数字美元信息更安全,”吉安卡洛说。

比赛开始了


去年天秤座项目启动后,中国加快了人民币数字化进程。北京官员特别指出,天秤座项目对法定货币构成了竞争威胁。


尽管本周他的犹豫不决,鲍威尔告诉立法者天秤座“真的点燃了火”在美联储调查cbdc的可能性。

 

鲍威尔对国会议员们说:“这给我们敲响了警钟,它来得很快,而且如果你像Libra那样利用这些大型科技网络,它可能会以一种相当迅速、广泛和具有系统重要性的方式出现。”


Renieris说,这句话"表明美联储更有动力去探索所谓的'联邦硬币',因为美元的主导地位可能会受到私营企业的竞争(类似于Facebook的Libra),而不是CBDC的数字人民币。"


但如果天秤座是催化剂,它不应该成为华盛顿的榜样,她说。


“考虑到历史高水平的不信任在Facebook,仍然被认为是掌舵的天秤座(尽管天秤座协会的正式独立),美联储将是明智的关注更privacy-respecting方法数字的钱与可能的铃声和口哨声,Facebook将提供(包括在平台的易用性,闪亮的用户体验,等等),“Renieris说。

 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has given advocates of financial privacy a glimmer of hope – and hinted at how the U.S. might competitively position a future digitized dollar.

 

In testimony before Congress this week, Powell was asked whether the Fed had any “visibility” into China’s progress developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

 

“Yes, we certainly have that,” Powell said. “But they’re in a completely different institutional context. For example, the idea of having a ledger where you know everybody’s payments, that’s not something that would be particularly attractive in the United States context. It’s not a problem in China.”

 

These were welcome words to those spooked not only by authoritarian China’s approach but also the potential privacy risks posed by Libra, the proposed digital currency originated at Facebook, a company that has paid billions in fines for abusing customer data.

 

“Powell implied that any digital currency implemented in the U.S. would have to be privacy-preserving or privacy-respecting, and not provide another method of surveillance ala the Chinese government’s plans for a CBDC that provides the government with a backdoor to surveil transactions,” said Elizabeth M. Renieris, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

 

“This should be reassuring to Americans who otherwise find themselves increasingly at risk of widespread government surveillance through their mobile location data, facial recognition systems, and law enforcement access to social media activities,” Renieris said in an email.

 

Rainey Reitman, chief program officer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, similarly approved of Powell’s acknowledging “the very real risks of attempting to create a state-run cryptocurrency here in the United States."

 

"Records relating to your financial transactions can hold clues to everything from your medical conditions to your political affiliations to your location at a given time,” Reitman said in an email. “As we look at cryptocurrencies and an overall societal shift toward digitizing our financial transactions, it's vital that we build privacy values into both the technology and the regulatory systems.”

 

Proceeding cautiously

 

To be sure, Powell indicated that the Fed is still in the early stages of researching digital currencies, and was noncommittal on whether the central bank would ever issue one.

 

“Having a single government currency at the heart of the financial system is something that has served us well. It’s a very, very basic thing, it really hasn’t been in question, and I think before we move away from that, we should really understand what we’re doing,” he said. “Preserving the centrality of a central, widely accepted currency that is accepted and trusted is an enormously important thing.”

This was consistent with his prior remarks, as recently as December, which came as another relief for Renieris.

 

“Realistically, this means it may be many more years before the Fed reveals any details of its research and development on a digital dollar to date, as we hope there would be many rounds of public consultation before any kind of official announcement or rollout,” she said. “That is, unless we really do go the way of China and implement this top-down.”

 

Selling point

 

But Powell was not the first Washington veteran to bring up privacy in the context of a potential digital dollar.

 

Christopher Giancarlo, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and now an advocate for an electronic greenback, touted U.S. constitutional protections as a differentiator. 

 

In a recent video interview with CoinDesk, Giancarlo described a scenario where a digital dollar was competing against an electronic yuan and against Libra.

 

“One government is going to want to know every transaction, especially transactions to political opponents, freedom movements,” he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. “One of those operators is going to want to know every commercial transaction to know whether you're shopping with Target or you're shopping with Nordstrom. And one of those providers is going to be constitutionally restricted from collecting either of that information. And that one is going to be the U.S. government.”

 

Hence, “people could see a [U.S] digital dollar as your information being more secure, not less, than a central bank currency offered by other governments or commercial vendors,” Giancarlo said.

The race is on

 

China kicked its work on a digitized yuan into high gear last year following the unveiling of the Libra project, which Beijing officials specifically cited as a competitive threat to fiat currencies. 

 

Despite his tentativeness this week, Powell told lawmakers that Libra “really lit a fire” under the Fed to investigate the possibilities of CBDCs. 

 

“It was a bit of a wake-up call that this is coming fast, and could come in a way that is quite, you know, widespread and systemically important fairly quickly if you use one of these big tech networks like Libra did," Powell told lawmakers. 

 

That remark “suggests the Fed is even more motivated to explore a so-called ‘Fedcoin’ by the prospect of private rivals to the primacy of the U.S. dollar (along the lines of Facebook’s Libra), than it is by CBDC’s like China’s digital yuan,” Renieris said. 

 

But if Libra was the catalyst, it shouldn’t be a model for Washington, she said.

 

“Given the all-time high levels of mistrust in Facebook, who is still perceived to be at the helm of Libra (despite the Libra association’s formal independence), the Fed would be wise to focus on a more privacy-respecting approach to digital money to compete with the likely bells and whistles that Facebook will provide (including the ease of in-platform use, the shiny UX, etc.),” Renieris said.

 
 

原作者: Benjamin Powers 来自: coindesk