On Thursday, Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) made a post on his X account which cautioned against accepting provisions in an updated version of a Maine bill that would adopt the Uniform Commercial Code — an event which, he said, could lead to the development of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
Brakey said that Maine should “follow the lead of Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Alabama, and New Hampshire by adopting UCC property protections generally, but rejecting provisions related to CBDCs.”
The Universal Commercial Code is a series of laws which states individually adopt, with the goal being that all states have the same commerce and property rights laws. The purpose of passing UCC laws is to make commercial or property disputes easier to settle, as all states would have the same rules.
CBDCs are purely digital versions of the U.S. dollar, sometimes described as FedCoin, but unlike the digital monetary system Bitcoin, a potential CBDC would not be open-source, would be centrally-controlled by unelected bureaucrats, and could open the door to the censorship of transactions according to political agendas.
The issue Brakey sees with Maine’s UCC bill (LD 91) is the definition of electronic money. In the UCC, money is defined as currencies recognized by a government. For example, when El Salvador recognized Bitcoin as legal tender, it caused confusion in the law.
Due to the UCC provision’s definition of electronic money, the only officially recognized currency under the law would be a CBDC. In his X post, Brakey said that he has “grave concerns about the degree of surveillance and control CBDCs would make possible over the people by central planners.”
For example, the advent of a U.S. CBDC would give the Federal Reserve and the federal government the power to directly target individual citizens— revoking their transactions or even blatantly taking their money, as well as the ability to see transactions that a citizen makes.
Brakey discussed the bill on Thursday in a subcommittee meeting with Rep. Stephen Moriarty (D-Cumberland). Moriarty is the sponsor of LD 91, the bill which would have Maine adopt the 2022 amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code.
In an interview earlier this year with the Maine Wire, Moriarity confessed to not knowing much about CBDCs or open-source, decentralized alternatives, like Bitcoin.
At the hearing, Moriarty suggested that the UCC should be passed, but with an addendum specifying that this law should not allow for the creation of a CBDC.
Washington State performed a similar maneuver when lawmakers there passed a law adopting the latest UCC amendments.
Brakey, however, does not see this as going far enough to prevent the possible rise of a CBDC.
That is why he proposed that Maine leaves out the UCC amendment defines electronic money.
A fixture of Maine politics for the past decade, Brakey recently announced that he will not seek re-election to the Maine legislature and will instead move to New Hampshire to spearhead the libertarian Free State Project.