This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Digital currency is a much-talked-about topic these days, what with the board of governors of the Federal Reserve just weeks ago stating they are not considering the process to replace physical currency, but using the idea only as "a means to expand safe payment options."
The Fed noted that whatever, if any, process eventually is pushed on American people it would have to provide privacy – with the limit that enough transparency would be needed to "protect against criminal activity."
Its benefits primarily would be, in the new digital age, to make payments, receive income, and transfer funds more or less instantaneous.
But there is a dark side.
Several nations, Kuwait, Brazil, and more, have limits because of what they perceive as threats from the system.
And a column reprinted online at a website for Ron Paul, who represented Kentucky in the U.S. House for many years, cited China's use of such procedures during COVID.
It was able to transfer "funds" to individuals in a way that would benefit its totalitarian goals, the report said.
"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," the report warned.
During COVID, digital vouchers were loaded into Chinese residents' smartphones. Then the government was able to track where the money was spent, on what, by whom, and more.
"Of course, if the government has access to data that allows them to check if their policies were well transmitted and if the money was spent as they intended, they can also use that data to check and trace any transactions for any other purpose," the report warned.
A Peking University researcher pointed out, "In theory, following the launch of the digital yuan, there will be no transaction that regulatory authorities will not be able to see – cash flows will be completely traceable."
Now comes a statement from Michael Morris, the Free Speech America, and MRC business director from the influential Media Research Center.
He explains that just days ago, FedNow, "a potential precursor to greater nationalization of the banking system, was launched," and it perhaps is a suggestion of a Central Bank Digital Currency is coming closer for Americans.
"The new platform will look to replace current services like Automated Clearing House and Square by offering instant payments between financial institutions and customers rather than the current system that can take several days, and it does so with a competitive price of $0.045 per transaction," he noted.
FedNow is not technically a CBDC, because the Federal Reserve is not liable for it, but critics warn that the system is pushing our monetary system firmly in that direction, "creating fears of potential state overreach in the banking systems," he explained.
He pointed out that Norbert Michel, formerly chief of the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation expressed alarm.
"Michel argued that the Fed has in the past claimed it had no intention of 'launching its own instant payments network. Or that the private sector did most of the work.' According to Michel, 'Initially, the Fed assured everyone that it wanted private firms to build and run the system. It did so publicly in 2013, 2015, and again in 2017.' But then, in 2019, after the private sector created one, the Fed announced it would launch its own," Morris said.
The Fed has said it could need congressional clearance to take those significant steps, but Morris explained, "We've seen how this goes before."
FedNow participants, according to the Federal Research online page, already include banks like 1st Source Bank, Avidia Bank, BNY Mellon, Global Innovations Bank, and more, as well as a long list of "liquidity providers" and certified service providers.
It promotes "instant payments" around the clock and every day of the year.
He continued, "It is vital to keep a sharp eye on this space because of the vast potential for abuse, especially in the area of free speech. We saw an example of how such overreach can occur during the trucker protests in Ottawa, Canada in January of last year when the bank accounts of organizers were frozen and crowdsourcing fundraising websites refused to process payments for the protests."
He said the difficult part will be maintaining a balance between the efficiency needed to be competitive, and "maintaining the rights, especially speech rights, of American citizens."
HaysPost reports that the Fed created FedNow to catch up with other nations, and it allows for "the ability for banks to flag suspicious accounts and limit the amount and frequency of payments by those accounts."