Fed’s Bowman seeks ‘sensible’ regulatory framework for digital assets

Stablecoins and other digital assets pose risks to consumers and the U.S. banking system, so the providers of those services should be held to the same standards as banks, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said today. Speaking during an event on the possibility of a central bank digital currency, Bowman reiterated her skepticism about the need for a CBDC in the U.S., saying that the digital currency could result in unintended consequences for the nation’s banking system and carries “considerable” consumer privacy concerns. She also had concerns about the growing use of stablecoins and other digital assets as a form of payment. The technology is “less secure, less stable and less regulated than traditional forms of money,” she said.

“While I support responsible innovation that benefits consumers, I caution against solutions that could disrupt and disintermediate the banking system, potentially harming consumers and contributing to broader financial stability risks,” Bowman said. “And, where the activity happens outside the regulatory perimeter, consumers would be left without the adequate protections that our regulated and supervised banks provide today in the United States.”

Bowman called for a “clear and sensible regulatory framework” for digital assets that incorporates features that work well for the U.S. banking system. “Within this framework, it is imperative that the same activities that present the same risks are subject to the same regulations—regardless of what a product is called and by whom it is offered,” she said. “I think the desire for ‘new’ often leads us to overlook existing success, both in terms of regulatory approach and financial services. Rather than speculate about the composition of alternative regimes, we should ask how these new products and providers can be held to the same standards as banks, especially with respect to consumer protection.”