The White House Touts A Digital Dollar: What Does That Mean?

A CBDC, or Central Bank Digital Currency, is a step closer in the U.S., but going digital will take years.

An electrified dollar sign atop a computer motherboard.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Disruption. It's coming for the U.S. dollar in the form of digital currency. Last week the Biden administration detailed a broad plan for adopting a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the coming years. The Departments of Energy, Commerce, the Treasury, and other agencies weighed in on how to manage and regulate a CBDC.

The government is reacting in part to the explosive growth of digital currencies. About three out of ten U.S. adults currently invest in some form of cryptocurrency, or “crypto,” like Bitcoin or Ethereum. These digital “coins” rely on a decentralized network of computers to verify financial transactions, cutting out third parties like banks or credit cards.

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Ellen Kennedy
Personal Finance Editor, Kiplinger.com

Ellen writes and edits personal finance stories, especially on credit cards and related products. She also covers the nexus between sustainability and personal finance. She was a manager and sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments for 15 years, focusing on climate change and consumer staples. She served on the sustainability councils of several Fortune 500 companies and led corporate engagements. Before joining Calvert, Ellen was a program officer for Winrock International, managing loans to alternative energy projects in Latin America. She earned a master’s from the U.C. Berkeley in international relations and Latin America.