As more countries are considering central bank digital currencies (CBDC), privacy concerns are becoming larger concerns. Use of CBDC by citizens leads to the issuer – the government – being privy to the transactions of the citizens. In the U.S., Secretary Yellen has noted that privacy protections must be built into the U.S. approaches to developing CBDC, but not all countries consider the privacy of citizens.
China’s digital yuan, e-CNY, is the most developed CBDC and has the potential for wide-spread use with the current popularity of Alipay and WeChat Pay. As of September, the e-CNY had more than $14 billion in transactions since its launch 2 years ago, a small percentage given China’s population. But with the wide-spread government surveillance in China, citizens and privacy experts are concerned with the potential for social control by central banks. As more than 100 countries are currently exploring the adoption of CBDCs, users are encouraged to consider the privacy implications of that use.