The Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated report on cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) – initially slated to come out last September – will be released “within weeks,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday.
Powell, who was nominated for a second term as Fed chairman by President Joe Biden, was asked about the timing of the report by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee.
“We didn’t get it to quite where we needed to get it,” Powell said about the report’s delays. “But it’s effectively there now, it’s within weeks [that] we will be publishing it.”
Powell’s testimony echoes similar remarks he made at a Senate hearing in November, when he promised the release of the report in “coming weeks.” Two months earlier, he said it was coming “soon.” And last July, he promised the report would be published by September.
The report is expected to focus on CBDCs, a subject the Fed is researching and a popular topic of discussion at congressional hearings where Powell is called as a witness.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Powell was asked by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the committee’s ranking member, whether a CBDC couldn’t coexist with “well-regulated, privately issued stablecoins,” if Congress gave the Fed the authority to pursue the digital currency.
“No, not at all,” Powell responded.
Toomey also cast doubt on the Fed’s authority to act as a retail bank for Americans.
“It seems to me that there is absolutely nothing in the history, the experience, the expertise, the capabilities of the Fed that lends the Fed to being a retail bank. Is that a fair observation?” Toomey asked.
Powell agreed: “I would say, yes,” he said.