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The United States should adopt its own approach to cryptocurrency adoption, rather than building its “own versions of China’s electronic payments systems,” British economic and financial historian Niall Ferguson said on Sunday in an opinion piece for Bloomberg.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged cryptocurrency adoption, driving a global “monetary revolution.” He pointed out, however, that China has been “advancing rapidly” with its rollout of the digital yuan and mobile payments apps such as Alipay and WeChat Pay, which annually process $40 trillion in transactions.

Ferguson thinks China’s approach is providing a model for other countries working to develop cross-border payment systems and remittance payments. But that doesn’t mean Washington should also follow Beijing’s lead, he stressed.

“Even governments that are resisting Chinese financial penetration, such as India, are essentially building their own versions of China’s electronic payments systems,” explained Ferguson.

“Rather than seeking to create a Chinese-style digital dollar, Joe Biden’s nascent administration should recognize the benefits of integrating bitcoin into the US financial system – which, after all, was originally designed to be less centralized and more respectful of individual privacy than the systems of less-free societies.

“The point is simply that the financial data of law-abiding individuals is better protected by bitcoin than by Alipay.”