The Florida House of Representatives and Senate recently passed the state’s anti-central bank digital currency (CBDC) legislation, SB 7054, which explicitly prohibits the use of CBDCs as a digital medium of exchange if issued by the U.S. central bank, a federal agency, or a foreign government. The bill seeks to protect Floridians’ financial privacy, with its provisions set to come into effect on July 1, 2023.
Governor Ron DeSantis is eager to sign the bill, which he initially requested in March. He has been publicly critical of CBDC initiatives, describing them as an example of “woke politics.” The legislation’s author has confirmed that it will have no impact on state and local revenue or on Florida’s private sector.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, has been a key advocate for the bill, arguing that CBDCs could allow for unwarranted government surveillance of Floridians’ financial data. He asserts that a federally-controlled CBDC “weaponized by the Biden administration” is the last thing the country needs. Support for the legislation has also come from several Democratic lawmakers in Florida, despite opposition to CBDCs usually being more closely linked to Republicans.
U.S. presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. has warned against the potential for political suppression through CBDCs, stating, “CBDCs grease the slippery slope to financial slavery and political tyranny.” In response to the bill’s passage, Florida’s Republican representative Wyman Duggan expressed pride in its support from state leaders, highlighting the objective to protect Floridians’ privacy.
With Florida’s anti-CBDC legislation setting a clear stance against centralized digital currencies, it raises the question of whether other states may follow its lead. While its unique position is reflective of the state’s governance, the growing concern over potential repercussions linked to CBDCs could inspire similar regulatory measures elsewhere. It will be interesting to see if Florida’s move serves as a catalyst for broader political discussion on federal or foreign CBDCs and their implications for privacy, financial sovereignty, and political dynamics in the United States.