Why Central Bank Digital Coins (CBDCs) are dangerous
The Central Bank of Japan has stopped its plan to introduce a digital currency. It started testing a CBDC in April 2022, but had to learn that most Japanese are not interested in it, since they already have many low-cost, efficient internet banking services and digital payment methods. I assume that many people also refuse the “Digital Yen” because it combines the bad sides of fiat money with the bad sides of the Internet, namely its potential to be a surveillance tool.
More and more people become aware of the fact that fiat money issued by central banks only benefits governments and a small elite, but is bad for everyone else. By inflating the money supply, the purchasing power of everyone’s earnings and savings decreases, while governments pile up debt to fund their wars and questionable “welfare programmes”. This will inevitably lead to economic crises and social injustice.
This malicious system would become even worse if combined with traceable transactions. The only good thing about fiat money is that it also comes in printed form, which allows anonymous, private transactions. Governments don’t like that, so they intend to replace all cash with electronic forms of payment.
If CBDCs became the norm, governments would know exactly how we spend our money. They could stop any payment or even confiscate our money if we don’t behave the way we are supposed to – an Orwellian horror scenario! Of course they will always find excuses for this like “fighting terrorism” or “stopping child porn”, but what they really want is to control our lives.
In totalitarian states like China or Russia, governments may be able to force people to use CBDCs. Bitcoin will then be used to circumvent financial tyranny in a clandestine way. In liberal democracies people still have the freedom to reject those “surveillance coins” outright, as the example of Japan shows – and hopefully many will follow.
I once heard the thesis that Bitcoin has been secretly launched by governments to “test the waters” for introducing CBDCs. But I don’t find that theory very convincing. Bitcoin is all about separating money and state and to get the government out of our wallets. That is actually the exact opposite of what CBDCs would do. People are not that stupid. They do understand the huge difference between Bitcoin and a central bank coin.
Many have become aware of the flaws of fiat money only through Bitcoin. Normally, very few people would ever think about the monetary system. The reason to get involved with Bitcoin for many is their interest in technology or simply in making money.
However, by getting to know Bitcoin, it is unavoidable to ask what money really is and how the current financial system works. You don’t learn that in school, not even at university, unless you stumble across the works of economists like Ludwig von Mises or Friedrich August von Hayek, who are not very popular in today’s academic circles.
As Bitcoiners we have the task to inform people about the disadvantages of a centralised debt-based financial system, and the benefits of decentralised sound money such as Bitcoin. If we do that well, CBDCs have no chance. So let’s defend our financial freedom!
By Aaron Koenig