The communist regime in China is going to use its new state-controlled digital currency as a Trojan horse to project its authoritarianism all over the world, warns hedge fund manager Kyle Bass, and it could become a “cancer” plaguing the United States if it isn’t banned.
“Imagine a currency that almost has a mind of its own,” Bass said in a recent interview for EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders.”
“It knows your account data, it knows your birthday, your Social Security number, where you live. It actually knows your spending proclivities and how you spend it.
“[Beijing’s] hope is to have a massive influence around the world to really leapfrog where they are today into a much stronger position economically and also giving them more control.”
Bass, founder and chief investment officer of Dallas-based Hayman Capital Management, was referring to the digital yuan, a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that Beijing began researching in 2014 and rolled out pilot tests for in four cities in 2020.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has ambitions of being the first in the race between governments to roll out a digital currency. On July 8, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, announced an expansion of its tests, saying that the digital yuan will be tested during the 2022 Winter Olympics Games in Beijing.
The Chinese regime hasn’t been hesitant to speak of its motives behind its digital currency. On June 30, China’s hawkish state-run outlet Global Times reported that the digital yuan “could weaken the U.S. dollar’s role in global currency settlements.”
Bass warned that once individuals predominately use the digital yuan, they could become targets of Chinese influence and coercion.
“So imagine if you and I were sitting here in this interview, and I said something negative about the Chinese Communist Party and I had accepted the digital yuan as payment, they could just turn it off or they could restrict my ability to buy a plane ticket to China,” Bass said.
“They could influence me the same way they influence their own people if they had their hooks into me enough, if I had enough digital yuan.”
Bass said he doesn’t foresee digital yuan being a global reserve currency anytime soon, but its increased use in settling cross-border transactions would be worrisome.
Currently, the Chinese currency, renminbi, only makes up a small fraction of cross-border payments, according to data from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), which is a cross-border payment messaging network for more than 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and regions.
As of January, the U.S. dollar accounted for more than 38 percent of global payments, followed by the euro with more than 36 percent, according to SWIFT (pdf). Meanwhile, China stood at 2.42 percent, an increase from 1.88 percent as of December 2020.
China could force companies to adopt the use of the Chinese yuan if they wanted to invest in China, Bass said. Meanwhile, countries could also be forced to make a switch, particularly those that have signed up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
BRI is the Chinese regime’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme launched in 2013 to expand its trade and political influence throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. Critics have argued that BRI has put developing countries into “debt traps.”
“They can force its use, and imagine what kind of stranglehold they will have over the world if they hold all of our capital that way,” Bass said.
Fundamentally, it’s the nature of the CCP that makes the digital yuan a threat, according to Bass.
“The Chinese Communist Party is the largest existential threat to the rules-based order that’s ever existed,” he said. The regime “is so good at exploiting every crack, every nook, every cranny of opportunity and openness that our society affords them.”
“I think that we should ban the [Chinese digital] currency and not allow any of it to be handled in the United States. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but if you just think all the way through this, you can’t have a little bit of cancer. You either have cancer, or you don’t have cancer. And I believe we can’t allow U.S. corporations or individuals to transact in the [Chinese] CBDC.”