New AtlanticistAug 20, 2021
Will digital money belong to democrats or despots?
By Arjun Bisen
As democracies engage in long and robust debates about the tradeoffs and risks of CBDCs, authoritarian governments continue to push forward with a simpler, centralized vision that strengthens their grip on power with significant geopolitical and human rights implications.
Arjun is a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. He also serves as an advisor to technology companies and governments on the opportunities and risks at the intersection of technology, social impact and foreign policy. He is currently a product policy advisor for Google Search, leading policy efforts on information quality, user safety, and countering disinformation.
Prior to Google, he was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Kennedy School, where he wrote his Masters thesis on tech and foreign policy, founded a political risk startup and designed a tech policy course taught at the Business, Engineering and Policy schools with Former SecDef Ash Carter. He also trained US election officials on cyber security, advised Twitter on content moderation, and worked as a Product Manager for the US Census Bureau’s data portal.
He served as an Australian diplomat for eight years, drafting Australia’s cyber strategy, focusing on geopolitics across the Indo-Pacific, negotiating trade agreements, and leading large UN aid programs on elections integrity, disability rights, and landmine clearance. He also undertook a diplomatic posting to Cambodia, reporting on human rights, domestic politics, and China’s diplomatic influence in South-East Asia. He sits on the board of nonprofits providing support indigenous and asylum seeker communities in Sydney.