As feds report on digital assets, ICBA poll suggests consumer skepticism

Sep. 19, 2022

Following the Biden administration’s release of reports on digital assets policy, ICBA released new polling conducted by Morning Consult indicating consumers support a regulatory framework for digital assets and are skeptical of the creation of a U.S. central bank digital currency.

Crypto Recommendations: The Treasury and Justice department reports—which respond to President Joe Biden’s executive order on responsible innovation—include several recommendations to bring digital assets within the regulatory perimeter, as advocated by ICBA. For instance, the reports encourage federal regulators to target unlawful activity in the crypto sector and to use existing authorities to issue guidance and rules to address crypto risks, even as Congress debates new crypto laws.

CBDC Input: The Treasury report also encourages policymakers to continue to advance work on a possible U.S. CBDC, in case it is determined to be in the national interest. Meanwhile, it encourages the use of instant payment systems, such as FedNow, and responsible payments innovations—alternatives that could obviate the need for a CBDC.

ICBA Polling: Responding to the release of the reportreports’ release, ICBA said its polling conducted by Morning Consult points to consumer skepticism with cryptocurrencies and CBDC. According to the polling:

  • 71% of voters say investing in cryptocurrency is risky, including more than three in five (62%) who own or have owned crypto.

  • 55% of voters say regulations in the traditional banking industry make them trust it more.

  • 46% of voters say they are aware that cryptocurrencies are not subject to the same regulations as the traditional banking sector—with 35% unaware.

  • More than half of voters (51%), including a bipartisan majority, say the establishment of a U.S. CBDC would increase the risk of their personal financial privacy and security being breached.

  • Nearly two-thirds of voters (64%), including a bipartisan majority, say they would rather have their personal bank account with a private commercial bank than with the Federal Reserve.

Digital Asset Priorities: “As ICBA told the Treasury and Commerce departments in recent comment letters on crypto oversight, policymakers should prioritize protecting national security amid catastrophic developments in the crypto markets while collaborating on a comprehensive regulatory framework that utilizes more effective alternatives to a U.S. CBDC—including the FedNow instant payments service,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said.

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