Two Texas lawmakers, Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Mark Dorazio, have introduced identical bills proposing the creation of a state-based digital currency backed by gold. Each unit of the proposed digital currency would represent a fractional equivalent amount of physical gold held in trust.
The bills, Senate Bill 2334 and House Bill 4903, outline the process for purchasing the proposed digital currency. Once a person purchases a certain amount of digital currency, the comptroller would use the money received to buy an equivalent amount of gold. The purchaser would then receive digital currency equal to the amount of gold purchased by the comptroller. The value of a unit of digital currency must be equal to the value of the appropriate fraction of a troy ounce of gold at the time of the transaction.
According to the bills, the trustee shall maintain enough gold to provide for the redemption in gold of all units of the digital currency that have been issued and are not yet redeemed for money or gold. The bills also state that a fee might be established “at any rate necessary” to cover the costs of administering this chapter.
While the bills have yet to be passed or presented for a vote, they are set to take effect on September 1, 2023. This move comes despite objections from several U.S. lawmakers who are against the introduction of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently expressed concerns about CBDCs, stating that they would grant “more power” to the government and provide them “with a direct view of all consumer activities.” Similarly, Republican Senator Ted Cruz introduced a bill to block the Fed from launching a “direct-to-consumer” CBDC, arguing that it is “more important than ever” to ensure U.S. policy on digital currencies protects financial privacy, maintains the dollar’s dominance, and cultivates innovation.
The idea of a state-backed digital currency is not new, with countries such as China and Sweden already testing their own versions of CBDCs. However, the introduction of a gold-backed digital currency by a U.S. state is a unique move. It is unclear how the proposed digital currency would be regulated or how it would affect the current financial system in Texas.
Gold has historically been considered a safe-haven asset and a store of value during times of economic uncertainty. The proposed gold-backed digital currency could provide Texans with an alternative to traditional fiat currencies and may appeal to those who are skeptical of the government’s ability to manage the monetary system. However, it remains to be seen whether the proposed digital currency will gain widespread adoption and whether other states will follow Texas’ lead in introducing their own digital currencies backed by precious metals or other assets.