Challenging Central Bank Control
German politician Joana Cotar, who is also a member of the Bundestag, a German federal parliament, advocated for Bitcoin adoption in the country while expressing concerns over digital euro.
In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Cotar spoke out against the development of a digital euro, or central bank digital currency (CBDC), arguing that it would lead to widespread surveillance and privacy violations.
The federal member is concerned that the digital euro would make it easier for the government to track and monitor people’s spending. She believes “anyone who is against surveillance and for freedom does not need a digital euro.”
Cotar noted the Chinese social credit system as a remarkable example of how a surveillance-oriented system could collect and misuse personal data. China’s social credit system is a proposed program powered by big data and artificial intelligence, which tracks and rates citizens’ behavior, assigning them a social credit score that would determine their access to various goods and services.
While the system is still under development with no definitive implementation timeline, it has been met with widespread criticism, both within China and internationally.
It was not the first time a politician voiced against CBDCs. In the U.S., Representative Tom Emmer, one of the most proactive CBDC critics, has repeatedly warned of the risks associated with a digital dollar. Emmer reintroduced an anti-CBDC bill in September this year in a bid to prevent the Federal Reserve (Fed) from issuing a CBDC and to protect consumer privacy.
Calling for Bitcoin to Become Legal Tender
Cotar believes that Bitcoin is a better alternative to the euro due to its decentralized and censorship-resistant nature. She is the founder of the “Bitcoin in the Bundestag” initiative, a non-partisan effort to raise awareness and educate members of the German Bundestag about the potential and risks of Bitcoin.
The initiative’s goals are to provide members of the Bundestag with an objective and unbiased overview of Bitcoin, and foster the development of responsible and forward-thinking Bitcoin legislation.
Cotar envisions a future where Bitcoin plays a more prominent role in society, including enabling tax and fee payments and utilizing Bitcoin mining farms to stabilize the power grid.
She also emphasizes the importance of preserving Bitcoin’s core principles of permissionless access and individual sovereignty, which includes safeguarding privacy, enforcing security code, and avoiding excessive control to maximize Bitcoin’s benefits.
“We need to promote the freedom aspects of Bitcoin (permissionless access, individual sovereignty). This includes protecting privacy, ensuring security standards and preventing excessive regulation to maximize the benefits of Bitcoin.”
The German parliament member advocates for a preliminary examination to establish a legal framework that adopts Bitcoin as legal tender in Germany, ensuring legal security for both businesses and individuals.
Like other CBDCs, the digital euro is expected to facilitate transactions and promote financial inclusion. The European Central Bank (ECB) is currently exploring the possibility of issuing a digital euro. The bank said that it would be a complement to fiat, rather than a cash replacement.
The ECB’s digital euro project is in “preparation phase,” and while the ECB said it has no interest in users’ personal data, there are some concerns that the ECB’s plans for a digital euro could lead to increased surveillance and data collection. Some privacy advocates have expressed concerns that the data could be used to track and monitor individuals.
The ECB said that it is committed to protecting the privacy of digital euro users. This includes using anonymization techniques and limiting the amount of data that is collected. However, it is still not clear how effective these measures will be in protecting privacy.
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