Photo: Rod Lamkey for Foreign Policy
Washington has a timely opportunity to reinvigorate the U.S. dollar for decades to come. That was the affirmative takeaway from “Currency in the Crossfire,” an event in DC hosted by Foreign Policy magazine.
In front of a live audience including key stakeholders from Capitol Hill, the Administration, financial institutions, and the private sector, veteran journalist Maggie Lake sat down with Circle Co-Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board Jeremy Allaire for a wide-ranging discussion about the U.S. dollar and its role in the global economy, dollar digital currencies, and U.S. technological and economic competitiveness.
Just as “http” enabled a protocol for the modern world wide web, allowing billions of users to exchange information at high speed and low cost, Circle is advancing a protocol for digital dollars, empowering businesses and developers to move money as easily as a text message. “Blockchains are a breakthrough innovation,” Allaire said. “They enable these digital cash equivalent instruments to be accessible and usable by any device connected to the internet with very high security and privacy assurances, and increasingly very, very low cost.”
Thursday’s conversation conveyed a clear sense of urgency about the risks to the primacy of the U.S. dollar in the global economy. Other jurisdictions, from adversaries like China to allies like the European Union and United Kingdom, are actively advancing regulatory frameworks for digital assets. The United States, meanwhile, risks the centrality and utility of its dollar by falling behind. Allaire noted the geopolitical, strategic, national security, and competitiveness risks to the dollar amid this race to harness digital asset-based financial innovations. Notably, Allaire stressed that this race is as much about values as it is about technology. With the right support from Congress, he said, we can export the strength of the dollar and foster open internet innovation grounded in western, liberal ideals.
Today, Congress and the Biden Administration are following a months-long process, initiated by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets and urged on by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, to create a robust framework for payment stablecoins. Allaire applauded the work that Congress and the Administration have done thus far, and said that now is the time to act boldly and swiftly to ensure that stablecoins are given a clear and workable regulatory framework. Allaire noted that legislation and regulation to appropriately supervise payment stablecoins would aid U.S. financial stability and protect U.S. consumers by enshrining a clear definition for a dollar digital currency in law.
“This is a nonpartisan issue for the United States,” Allaire said. “This is a critical way that we can help the United States compete.”