A new bill would launch a large-scale test of digital dollars


Graphics by Michele Doying / The Verge

2A US lawmaker has proposed a large-scale trial of government-backed digital cash. The Electronic Currency and Secure Hardware (ECASH) Act, introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to publicly test an “electronic version” of the US dollar. While the bill’s odds of passing likely remain low, it demonstrates governments’ increasing interest in launching alternatives to cryptocurrency.

The ECASH Act would require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a program called the Electronic Currency Innovation Program (ECIP). ECIP would oversee a series of pilot programs for what the bill dubs “e-cash”: Treasury Department-issued legal tender that can be used without private intermediaries like banks…

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