National e-currencies aim to centralize money again
“We have to be very careful in not ascribing superpowers to central bank digital currencies, when government has these powers over your existing bank accounts.”Rich Turrin, author and fintech consultant
And it [the e-CNY] makes an interesting case study, says Rich Turrin, a Shanghai-based fintech consultant and author of Cashless: China’s Digital Currency Revolution, as other CBDCs will likely follow a similar blueprint. “Most of them are going to look pretty similar, because of the job they’re designed to do,” he says.
This has led to accusations that the digital yuan is designed to be an economic surveillance tool, something critics fear could be replicated elsewhere. But Turrin says that China’s recently enacted Personal Information Protection Law provides some of the strictest privacy protections in the world. Officials, for one, can’t access wallet holders’ details without going through the courts. Turrin also points out that both the Chinese government and most foreign ones can already obtain warrants to access citizens’ conventional financial records.