Is the Pandemic Driving U.S. to Digital Dollars?

Concern about getting federal relief payments to Americans quickly may prompt rise of cryptocurrency dollar
April 2, 2020 Updated: April 5, 2020

Commentary

Has the time of digital currencies finally arrived?

Maybe so. In fact, there’s no maybe about it. It has.

With the pandemic all but halting the entire U.S. economy, Congress and the president have enacted a $2.4 trillion relief plan. A big part of that plan involves directly depositing thousands of dollars into most Americans’ bank accounts.

That’s never been done before on such a scale. But then, we have no living memory of such a pandemic.

It’s a brave new world.

Digital Dollar Introduced

The reasons for doing so can be argued for and against, but that’s for another time. The key point here is that during the negotiations of the bill between House Democrats and Republicans, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced the idea of creating a digital dollar.

The rationale is clear, if not altogether compelling. At least, not yet.

Pelosi noted that requiring the Federal Reserve member banks to establish digital dollar accounts or “digital wallets” for every American would make it much easier and quicker for the relief funds to reach them. That may be true, but does that reason alone make it the worthwhile or even the right thing to do?

Is convenience a valid reason for every American’s financial privacy—and our constitutional rights—to be put on the scrapheap of history? Is it so very important that Americans are paid via a digital currency rather than receiving checks through the mail, or even via direct deposit, which is almost as fast?

Millions of Americans have been paying their taxes, as well as receiving tax refunds, via direct deposit for at least a decade if not more.

Why Now?

Why is direct deposit suddenly not good enough?

Also, why is it the left-wing progressives in Congress who are the ones pushing for the creation of the digital dollar?

The answer is simple enough: It would give the federal government, that is, the Federal Reserve, even more control over the economy—and every American—than they already have. That, in itself, should put the idea onto the scrapheap of U.S. history.

But, I’m afraid that won’t be happening anytime soon.

Although the digital dollar was ultimately not part of the current federal relief plan, there will undoubtedly be other relief plans to follow this one. Look for other digital dollar proposals in those to come.

Digital Dollar a Certainty

In fact, it’s not only likely that a digital dollar will be created sooner rather than later, it’s an absolute certainty. As I mentioned above, it’s not about convenience as much as it is about expanding control.

With the current world situation rapidly deteriorating, control over currency, it will be argued, will become even more of a national security issue than it already is.

Digital currencies themselves are based on highly accurate and ideally frictionless platforms that enable banks to move whatever amount of digital currency wherever they wish, without the usual international barriers such as transfer fees, anti-money laundering checks, and other friction points involved in moving money from point A to point B around the globe.

Beta Testing Is Over

Distributed ledger technology, otherwise known as blockchain technology, was the seminal invention that allowed such anonymous and secure transactions to occur between two bitcoin holders anywhere in the world over the internet.

In fact, central banks around the world have been beta testing hyperledger fabric platforms—essentially second-, third-, or fourth-generation blockchain environments that possess enhanced exchange performance, oversight, and privacy use aspects, among others—for the past few years with high success. All of them are in various stages of creating if not issuing cryptocurrencies as alternatives to, and eventual replacements for, their actual currencies.

This new idea may not sit well with some boomers, who grew up with and trusted cash in hand. But for the millennials and Generation Z, it’s a no-brainer. These digitally native generations already practically use digital currency daily. Whether paying for their lattes, buying and selling items online, or doing their banking all online from their smartphones, they do so without ever handling cash. Making the transition to digital dollars would likely be immediate and seamless.

Cash Carries Diseases

One other benefit of digital dollars is that, unlike paper currency that circulates quickly throughout a population, digital money is not a vector to transmit deadly viruses. Recent news reports explain how dollars repatriated from Asia are being quarantined to prevent the further spread of the CCP virus.

That, in itself, may actually be the most compelling reason of all to make the switch from paper to digital dollars sooner rather than later. But it’s still not enough of a reason to give up what few rights seem to remain with us.

Blockchained Into Submission

That’s the irony of the emergence of the digital dollar. The original cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in response to the abuses and destruction by the world’s central banks that caused the 2008 global financial crisis.

The idea behind bitcoin was to create a currency that would be beyond the manipulation and control of central banks. It was to be a “people’s currency” that offered financial privacy, borne of the digital revolution, and setting people free from financial control and unbridled taxation of traditional financial authorities.

By allowing bitcoin holders to conduct buy-and-sell transactions completely hidden from the prying eyes of central bankers and government taxing authorities, people were free to do as they pleased. No one could see because all identities and transactions were hidden. Hence, the “crypto” in “cryptocurrency.”

The Real Pandemic

When the digital dollar finally does come about, it will bring with it a sea change in our identities as Americans. We will cease to be a truly free people. Rather, we will be, and possess, primarily financial identities.

Our value and worth as human beings will be degraded into earning, spending, and taxpaying units, overseen by central bankers and federal bureaucrats to a heretofore unknown granular degree.

Perhaps that’s the real pandemic.

James Gorrie is a writer and speaker based in Southern California. He is the author of “The China Crisis.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.