As long as civilization itself has existed, governments and leaders have wanted to find ways to control society. Throughout history the cycle has been the same; the government gets too much control and the people revolt, and then the cycle starts all over again. However, I feel this time, with tech now being what it is, there maybe no ‘fighting your way out’.
One of the best ways to control the people is with their money. In 1744 mayor Rothschild infamously said; “give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws“.
So basically, whoever holds the purse strings is the boss, and now new technology is making it easier than ever to control people via money, which will result in the greatest form of control we’ve ever seen, has all been well underway for some time now.
We already know that China was the first one to release their own central bank digital currency, and now just this week announcements came out about the U.S. central bank’s digital currency, and the pilot test that they are running.
The War on Cash;
The war on cash has been happening for quite some time – we’ve seen countries place limits on cash transaction amounts, controlling the amount that you’re able to use. Almost every country now has a capped value limit on transactions; in the United States and Australia for example, you cannot do a transaction with over ten thousand dollars in cash without reporting it. In other countries throughout Europe some have cash limits as low as the equivalent of one thousand dollars. This is being done to eliminate the freedom and anonymity that cash offers.
This of course, would never work in a country that’s heavily reliant on cash – it works in developed countries because everyone uses digital money, credit/debit cards, online payments etc, but ‘third world’ countries all use cash. India is the perfect example of this; India is one of the largest countries and it’s one of the most cash-heavy, or cash dependent countries. In 2016 they scrapped the 500 and thousand rupee notes illegal almost overnight. The USD value of those bills is not a lot ($7/$15 dollars respectively at that time).
They did say they’re going to replace it with another note, but that’s not the key issue here, the key issue is that the P.M. ordered the country’s banks shuttered. Now when gold was made illegal in 1933, they did the exact same thing – the banks were at first shuttered, then the Indian government said that they could exchange the money at the banks through to December 30, 2016. Now you’ll notice this is on November 12th, so it gave people about 30 days to get that money into the bank, and exchange that for the new notes.
The vast majority of monetary transactions among Indian citizens involves cash, so everyone had to go and deposit and exchange their cash, the catch was they had to prove where did they get the cash come from, did they pay taxes on it, etc. If they weren’t able to prove any of this then there was severe consequences, including many Indians losing all their money.
Fast-forward back to where we’re at today, the catalyst that’s really ignited and enabled this war on cash that we’re seeing right now obviously came from technology – the tech has arrived to implement unprecedented, never-before possible control. Cryptocurrency somewhat started this trend, and was the ‘canary in coal mine’, and has since proved it’s viability, then you have the US dollar backed stable coins as another working model, and so that was really the spark that got everybody thinking about digital money.
Interestingly, in 2019, Facebook announced it’s own digital currency, Libra coin, and floated the idea of a new form of money in which they wanted to take all the fiat monies, basically what the IMF does with their SDR basket, and use that as a form of money – a basket of currencies represented by Libra, effectively making it the most valuable currency on the planet overnight. Of course Facebook’s Libra got shutdown quickly, but it ignited a fire under many tech-illiterate governments. FB are currently trying to revive the idea, rebranded as Diem coin.
China’s Digital Yuan;
Recently, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), its kind of the central bank of all central banks, have announced that 80% of banks are actually working on a new central bank digital currency.
It’s no surprise China was the first to the punch at trying a central bank issued digital currency (CBDC) – they’re a top-down, centrally-planned authoritarian state, and they’ve made use of all the technology available to control the people of China, including social credit scores, and surveillance systems everywhere, so it’s not that big of a surprise that they were the first one to roll out the brand new tool that could be used for censorship and control.
They released the test of $1.5 million worth of central bank digital currency last year. They started working on it earlier obviously, but it was ‘released to the wild’ October 2020, and they did it in a fashion in which they enticed people to try it – ‘Hey check it out; if you download this app and take our central bank digital currency so we can spy on you and control you, we’re going to give you free money!‘ – of course, who wouldn’t download that app and take ‘free’ money?
Since October 2020 they’ve continued to release it to bigger and bigger and bigger scales. They are planning a full-scale launch by the winter Olympics of next year, so what better way to do this than bring the all the world leaders together and then release it. Bring the whole world to China and get everybody using the digital yuan at the same time. You couldn’t write the script any better. So that’s timeframe that we’re looking at – by next year expect a large part of the world to be using China’s digital yuan.
Now what we’re seeing is a power struggle over money, and what China really wants is to get some of the power that the United States holds through the reserve currency of the world, the USD, and because it’s the reserve currency of the world, which runs payments through what’s known as the SWIFT network, what the United States is able to do is weaponize the dollar. So if the United States doesn’t like a policy or something that your country has done – it’s sanctions for you, and you’re cut out of the financial system. And so the digital yuan is going to give China new tools to strike back, and this allows them to bypass the weaponization of the U.S. dollar by bypassing the SWIFT system.
However, the head of the central bank, Jerome Powell, stated many times in 2020, what’s more important for the U.S. to get the digital currency right, not to be first. Powell took the approach of; we don’t need to be first, we’re the United States, we have the U.S. dollar, we’re the reserve currency of the world, we don’t have to lead, we’re so big we can let other people go out and innovate and we’ll just follow. Or in other words; do nothing and just let China be first.
Once China had come out and stated that their goal is to take down the dollar supremacy of the SWIFT system, and to have a good majority of the world using the digital Yuan by next year, all of a sudden we see the Biden administration has recently stated that it’s now sees a threat from china’s digital yuan. Yeah no kidding, right?
The Digital Dollar Project;
The Digital Dollar Project (DDP) is not a government group, but rather a combination of Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and the Digital Dollar Foundation (DDF). Now you may not recognize this name, but Accenture was previously known as Arthur Anderson, a holding company which became infamous in 2002 after it was found guilty of crimes in the firm’s auditing of Texas-based energy company Enron, and was dissolved shortly after. Readers old enough may remember the Enron scandal that basically brought down the stock market. Well Accenture were essentially the outfit behind it, so it’s nice to have some trustworthy people behind the Digital Dollar Project.
And then we have the Digital Dollar Foundation (strangely, and perhaps cleverly, there is no website I can find), which is headed by the former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and that’s Chris Giancarlo, who is no stranger to the digital asset world – they were the first ones pushing for a U.S. CBDC, and so they’re somewhat ahead of the pack. But remember DDF is a private company, it’s not the banks, not the government, and not the Federal Reserve, and the reason why is because in the United States things are done a little bit differently than in China.
Any fans of the book The Creature From Jekyll Island will know that the Federal Reserve is not really the Government, but instead it’s kind of like a semi-quasi private bank, kind of working with the government, and then all the banks down below of course are private institutions. they’re not government either, and so because of that it makes sense that this is also a private group that’s doing this, which is very different than what we see in China.
Now a couple things to look at; this is from the Accenture website; “WASHINGTON, D.C.; May 3, 2021 – The Digital Dollar Project (DDP) will launch at least five pilot programs over the next 12 months with interested stakeholders and DDP participants to measure the value of and inform the future design of a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC), or “digital dollar.”
The U.S. tried to quietly slip a digital dollar through in the first round of stimulus checks last year that was issued after the pandemic broke out, using people’s desperation for financial assistance in the hope they won’t pay too much attention to the many other unrelated items in the bill. However if at first you don’t succeed try try again, and so of course they did, and a digital dollar is now re-introduced in stimulus number two trying to get it back out again.
The U.S. Central Bank’s Digital Currency Pilots;
What the U.S. central bank want to do is rollout five digital dollar pilots, and again, they’re very motivated now. Of course, the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency of the world so they can’t just switch the whole thing over without testing first, in the same way China has been working on theirs for years, first rolling it out in October of last year, and they’ve been continuing to gradually roll it out with a plan of full scale launch next year.
The United States’ five digital dollar pilots over the next 12 months, is being done by a non-profit group called the Digital Dollar Project, and I’m going to explain what that means, because it’s a lot different than what China’s doing.
Why is there five different pilot tests? because they want to test a bunch of different potential uses, they want to test it in different areas, rural and city, high income and low income etc, but they also want to test a bunch of other features and that’s part of the scary part we’re going to jump into, and they also want to recreate similar tests that China did, in which they rolled it out in stages.
So one of the features of a central bank digital currency is it’s programmable money, or ‘behavioral money’. So what does that mean? It means that it can programmed to do whatever they want it to do, for example, in China they added expiration dates so if you don’t use the money by the set date it automatically returns to the Government. So when the United States sent out the stimulus checks last year they wanted people to take that money go spend it, they wanted that to stimulate the economy, but instead a lot of people saved it (or they put it into Robinhood and became options traders), and that is not what the government wanted, and so in future what they could do, like China, is program the money so that if you don’t use it by a certain date it returns or you can only use it at these retailers, Walmart or Amazon for example, ‘approved vendors’ and nowhere else.
China did exactly this, they added expiration dates and per the report from the Digital Dollar Foundation, they said that the U.S. digital dollar will have that feature, plus more.
Central Bank issued digital currencies are going to allow the central bank to deposit the digital dollar to any account. Now at first you may not understand the impact of that, but what it can allow them to do is many things, one of being ‘targeted inflation’. So let’s say for example, they could say; ‘Hey, this state needs more inflation, so we’re just going to give money to that state‘. It could of course, be this region, it could be this town, or it could also be a particular identity group. We’ve heard lots of talk recently about reparations happening, so the money could be programmed to go solely to a certain group, or maybe it goes to minority groups or whatever it may be, they can use CBDC’s to control behavior and really ‘target inflation’ different groups.
For example, the Government could say you’re saving way too much money, and so we’re going to hit you with a negative 5% interest rate. Oh, you’re still not spending enough? Okay, now it’s negative 10%. Or they could say ‘Hey you know you’re not saving enough so we’re going to give you a positive five percent rate, or you’re not saving up we’ll give you a positive ten’, and so you can start to see how this can be used to effect behaviour, and all done automatically by algorithms.
The Digital Dollar Project have mentioned other features, so lets take a look at that directly off their Proposed Pilot Programs document;
- Improve financial inclusion; remember that word inclusion – we’re going to dig into that.
- Increased competitiveness; of course we’re being out-competed by China we need to improve that.
- Maintain security standards; that that goes without saying.
- They want to develop a resilient and robust widely adopted United States CBDC.
- Be balanced towards individual privacy rights with necessary compliance and regulatory policies
- Needs to be built for future flexibility well i kind of like my dollar to be a dollar in the future and worth a dollar in the future I don’t really want to be that flexible.
- They want to be accessible to all persons in the United States (remember this financial inclusion piece we’re going get back to that), and they want to balance, again keyword ‘balance’ the right to privacy – they want you to have a little bit of privacy, that’s important, but ensuring appropriate regulatory protections in place such as Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Client (KYC).
- And don’t forget this one; the mention of government surveillance.
I also want to highlight this from the DDP’s Proposed Pilot Programs PDF; so typically what marketing companies do when you’re doing a pilot is you pullout an ‘avatar’; so here’s Jane, a 45 year old woman, she has a high school degree but she lives in a rural American town. She does not have a bank due to the inconvenience of having to visit a distant bank branch. Jane doesn’t mind not having a bank account but has difficulty making online transactions because she doesn’t have a bank account, but she does have a smart phone though, but she doesn’t have a broadband internet connection. Now I don’t know why jane doesn’t just use her phone as a hotspot for her laptop, that’s what I do quite frequently, but she doesn’t do that. Now the the solution that they propose is that in a world with CBDC’s Jane would have the ability to access bank digital wallet services through her smartphone, kind of like Venmo or PayPal, however as a first step Jane would have to verify her identity credentials by going to a ‘local regulated entity’ to complete the necessary AML/KYC reviews, but remember she doesn’t have any banks nearby her – that was the whole problem.
The Myth of Inclusion;
The Federal Reserve, in addition to keeping the economy stable and keeping people fully employed, now supposedly want to target racial/gender income inequality – it’s clear these terms are being used cynically for marketing purposes alone. Let’s talk about the myth of inclusion in CBDC’s.
In the United States it’s estimated somewhere between 20 to 25% of Americans are either unbanked or underbanked, as can be seen in this chart, and some estimates have it even higher, and that’s the United States where there’s a good infrastructure. There’s a little over seven billion, maybe almost eight billion adults on the planet today, and two billion of those adults don’t have access to banking, or the financial system.
Firstly, why don’t they have access to the financial system? Remember Jane, she has a smartphone, she can use it as a internet hotspot for a computer, the real reason why is because she has to show ID, she has to get permission, she has to pass AML and KYC. So the 2 billion adults around the world are not given permission to join, as they don’t have the proper documentation or ID, or they’re not in the correct countries, or the countries they’re in don’t allow them to join the financial system, so the problem with this proposed ‘inclusion’ they’re trying to solve is not not having a central bank digital currency, the problem why these people don’t have access is because they’re not given permission in the first place. If you’ve ever opened a bank account you’ll know you need permission and that is the barrier, and not not having a central bank digital currency.
How can you have equality or inclusion when those two billion adults have no access to the financial system in the first place?
Centralized vs Decentralized Money;
So really what this is is it’s a battle over control of the money.
Like I said, they’re preaching equality, but what we really need is equality of opportunity – everybody should have the opportunity to join the financial system. People who don’t have access to the financial system, who don’t have access to send and receive money, don’t have a chance to get out of poverty, whether in the United States or any other country of the world, and so what we really need here, and this is the big game changer, is ‘permissionless money‘.
Everybody needs to have the ability to transact and we need it to be done without permission – it shouldn’t be up to any one regulatory body to give permission to do this.
So what kind of permissionless money are we talking about? what does it look like? Well my favourite is Bitcoin. Anybody can download a wallet, anybody in the world right now, you could download a wallet and you could send, receive and store money immediately. You could be your own bank – there’s no permission required, it’s borderless, and it works anywhere in the world.
And so we see CBDC’s are not the solution because they still require the same permission as conventional banking. Now how do CBDC’s balance out with this? Well in my opinion I believe that CBDC’s will only push adoption back, and that’s because right now there’s still a lot of people who will be skeptical, saying ‘well I don’t trust that digital money I want real hard things’, and that’s okay, this is a generational thing and it’s going to take time to get there.
Now of course we have people using PayPal and Venmo and debit cards and so forth, so people are used to the digital thing, and so people will come to the conclusion that; ‘if I can transact with the federal reserve’s digital dollars then I could do it just as easily with with Bitcoin‘. So CBDC’s are going to increase adoption and awareness of digital currency, and I believe that’s going to push back to Bitcoin adoption.
So government issued, centrally controlled digital money will be utilized to control society with more regulations, more permissions, more surveillance, all by enrolling us into a centralized digital currency with ‘programable money’, whether it’s China’s or the United states’ When what we really need is permissionless money that anybody has the ability to use and join the global financial system, and that is found in decentralized crypto currencies like Bitcoin.