The War On Cash – COVID Edition Part II

Claudio Grass

It doesn’t require too dark an imagination to realize the gravity of the concerns over the digital yuan. China is a true pioneer when it comes surveillance, censorship and political oppression and the digital age has given an incredibly efficient and effective arsenal to the state. Adding money to that toolkit was a move that was planned for many years and it is abundantly clear how useful a tool it can be for any totalitarian regime. The ability to track citizens’ transactions, access their financial data, control and freeze the account of anyone that presents a potential threat, it all opens the door to the ultimate oppression: total control over private resources, over people’s livelihoods and their capacity to cover their basic needs. If we accept that digital currencies are inevitable and arguably their emergence has been accelerated by the corona crisis, the real question is who controls them, who issues and distributes them, and who determines their value. We stand at a historic crossroads and the answer to these questions can determine the kind of future we’ll wake up to. It can be a very bleak one, if the power remains with governments and centralized institutions. In this scenario, money will retain all the flaws and vulnerabilities of today’s fiat currencies, only its digital nature will amplify them to an unimaginable extent. The privacy violations of today will become simply unstoppable, a mere fact of life, while disastrous monetary policies, like negative rates, so far only cushioned by the individuals’ ability to sidestep them through physical cash, will be forcibly and uniformly transmitted throughout the economy.

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