President Joe Biden on Wednesday ordered government agencies to begin work on creating a digital US dollar, weighing the risks and benefits of a move that could be a game changer for the global financial system. Coming amid the explosive rise of private crypto currencies like bitcoin, the US effort will place “the highest urgency on research and development efforts into the potential design and deployment options of a United States” digital currency, according to an executive order signed by Biden. “A United States CBDC may have the potential to support efficient and low-cost transactions, particularly for cross-border funds transfers and payments, and to foster greater access to the financial system,” the order said, adding it could also be less risky than private digital assets. CBDC stands for central bank digital currency. The world’s largest economy will join more than 100 countries that are exploring or have launched pilot programs with their own central bank digital currency, including China’s digital yuan.
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