Alex Newman Says: The Coin Shortage and Infected Money Is Bunk. The Goal Is a Cashless Society.
Your browser does not support the video tag.
Your browser does not support the video tag.
It looks like the Chinese started something…
Following reports that Beijing had “quarantined” dirty cash, the WHO warned on Monday that the virus could survive on banknotes, potentially spreading Covid-19 within communities, and across the world. To reduce the risk of being infected by money, the NGO advised citizens in countries struggling with outbreaks to favor digital payments when possible, the Daily Telegraph reported.
That the WHO is telling the public to avoid cash is hardly a surprise: research has found that coronaviruses have been found to live on surfaces for as long as 9 days.
During the statement, a WHO spokesman referenced a Bank of England study claiming that banknotes “can carry bacteria or viruses” and urged people to wash their hands. Other studies have shown that 90% of US $1 bills had bacteria present, and one Swiss study found that viruses had survive on the faces of Swiss francs for days.
The WHO’s warnings follow the People’s Bank of China last month started disinfecting currency deposited at Chinese banks using ultraviolet light, before quarantining the bills for a week before releasing them back into circulation.
Brits, and their fellow Europeans, should be increasingly careful as the virus spreads across Europe, the WHO warned, via the Telegraph:
“We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses,” a spokesman told the Telegraph.
“We would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face. When possible, it would also be advisable to use contactless payments to reduce the risk of transmission.”
Of course, that one of the world’s major NGOs is seizing the opportunity to proclaim the virtues of ‘paperless’ money is hardly a surprise: the globalist push toward a ‘cashless society’ has been underway for years now, having had its biggest successes in Scandinavia. Sweden has gone virtually “cashless”, and in such a short time, they’ve already confronted the many drawbacks of relying exclusively on digital money.
The WEF collaborated with regulators, central bank researchers, international organizations and experts from over 40 institutions to develop the framework. The head of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) at the World Economic Forum Sheila Warren explained:
“Given the critical roles central banks play in the global economy, any central bank digital currency implementation, including potentially with blockchain technology, will have a profound impact domestically and internationally. […] It is imperative that central banks proceed cautiously, with a rigorous analysis of the opportunities and challenges posed.”
Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said that the institution made good progress on its own CBDC implementation, called Project Inthanon. Recently, reports started circulating that Hong Kong and Thailand’s central banks have stepped closer to implementing a joint CBDC for cross-border payments. He explained how the toolkit is useful for the continued development of the bank’s digital currency:
“From our experience, we need to identify tradeoffs between benefits from the use cases and their associated risks across different dimensions. This is where the Policymaker Toolkit could usefully provide an actionable framework for CBDC deployment.”
Central Bank of Bahrain Governor Rasheed M. Al Maraj announced that the institution that he is guiding will pilot the WEF’s toolkit, saying, “We hope that it will be an opportunity to learn, grow and to adapt to the changes in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
The framework recognizes that a CBDC — among other things — can improve the cost and speed efficiencies of cross-border interbank payments, as well as reduce settlement and counterparty risks. The WEF notes that a digital currency can also enhance financial data transmission and reporting, and improve traceability compared to physical cash.
The paper admits that, before considering a CBDC, other solutions to economic friction should be considered. A digital currency may not add value in domestic interbank payments where an efficient system is already present.
The toolkit also notes that digital currency implementation requires substantial investments in cybersecurity and system resilience, and that potential risks come along with it:
“Generates substantial financial risks, including: 1) bank disintermediation risk, which could reduce bank profits and lending activity; 2) digital‐bank‐run risk as depositors may rapidly convert commercial bank deposits to CBDC.”
San Francisco officials voted Tuesday to require brick-and-mortar
retailers to take cash as payment, joining Philadelphia and New Jersey
in banning a growing paperless practice that critics say discriminates against low-income people who may not have access to credit cards.
The vote by the Board of Supervisors was unanimous.
Vallie Brown, who introduced the legislation, said it “will go far in
ensuring all San Franciscans have equitable access to the city’s
Brown said she thought it unfair that someone couldn’t
buy a sandwich just because they had cash. She said young people,
victims of ID theft, immigrants and homeless people are among those who
don’t have bank accounts or credit cards.
In many ways, the
legislation was an easy call for San Francisco officials, who strive to
make life more equitable in a city with an enormous wealth gap.
tech workers who flocked to San Francisco to work for Facebook, Google,
Uber and Airbnb may like the ease of paying by credit card, debit card
But many low-income people, including more than
4,000 who sleep on San Francisco’s streets every night, likely don’t
have money to sustain bank accounts.
According to the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation, 17 percent of African American households
and 15 percent of Latino households had no bank account.
people also prefer to use cash because they don’t want to leave a
digital trail of where they have been and what they have bought.
Francisco’s legislation requires brick-and-mortar businesses to accept
cash for goods and some services. Temporary pop-up stores and
internet-only businesses such as ride-hailing companies would be exempt,
as would food trucks, which say they lack the resources to handle cash.
and New Jersey passed similar laws this year. Legislation requiring
merchants to accept cash also has been introduced in New York City.
Sweden’s Riksbank has become the first central bank in the 21st century to take concrete measures to ensure that cash does not disappear as a means of payment from the financial system. To that end, the Riksbank proposes, in a document published on its website, to make it mandatory for all banks and financial institutions to offer cash services.
The pronouncement comes in response to a recent policy suggestion by the Riksbank Committee that only the country’s six major banks should be obligated to continue offering cash services.
That prompted a backlash from Sweden’s competition watchdog, which argued that the plan would distort competition as it would affect only a few of the nation’s banks. In response, the Riksbank has opted to apply the rule to “all banks and other credit institutions that offer payment accounts.”
There was also a difference of opinion between the Riksbank Committee and the central bank’s senior management on the issue of deposit facilities. While the Committee recommended that banks should only be obligated to provide deposit facilities to businesses, the Riksbank believes it is important for banks to also offer deposit services to individual citizens:
“This is a service that consumers can reasonably expect of credit institutions. There must also be symmetry between withdrawal and deposit facilities. In the Riksbank’s view, there is otherwise a risk that the possibilities for individuals to make deposits will decrease even further in the future. For most consumers, it would also be difficult to understand why they can withdraw cash from an account but not make deposits.”
For years, the government and the Riksbank have been pushing for a “cashless society.” The Riksbank has over 1,000 articles posted on its website on the “cashless society“. The emphasis worked: between 2013 and 2017, the amount of cash in circulation dropped by 35%, earning Sweden a reputation as the world’s “most cashless nation”:
When you’re in a rush, it can be easy to forget your travel card on the way out of the house.
But for around 3,000 commuters in Sweden, this isn’t something to worry about.
The brave commuters have futuristic microchip implants embedded into their hands to pay for their journey.
But the technology raises security and privacy issues, as the data generated could be used to track people.
n June, SJ Rail, the Swedish train operator, announced that around 100 people were using microchips to pay for their journey.
But in a new interview with the BBC, it was revealed that an estimated 3,000 people now use the service.
In a video, the Travel Show’s Ade Adepitan said: ‘So far around 3,000 people in Sweden have a microchip.’
Commuters with a microchip in their hand are able to have their ticket loaded directly onto the device.
The train conductor can then read the chip with a smartphone to confirm the passenger has paid for their journey.
Stephen Ray, who is overseeing the SJ Rail project, told the BBC: ‘You could use the microchip implant to replace a lot of stuff, your credit cards, they keys to your house, the keys to your car.’
SJ Rail is not offering to microchip people itself, and passengers wanting to use the service must already have the futuristic technology.
Mircrochip implants are not new in Sweden, and an estimated 20,000 people already have them, using the devices to swipe in and out of the office, and even pay for food.
Read full article here…
The war on cash is escalating. A big driver isn’t central banks who want to be able to inflict negative interest rates on savers, or Treasuries who see cash transactions as hiding revenues from their tax collectors, but the payment networks that want to kill cash (and checks!) as competitors to their oh so terrific (and fee-gouging) credit and debit cards.
However, one bit of good news is there doesn’t appear to be much enthusiasm on the buyer, as in merchant, end.
First, the overview from the Wall Street Journal:
Visa Inc. has a new offer for small merchants: take thousands of dollars from the card giant to upgrade their payment technology. In return, the businesses must stop accepting cash.
The company unveiled the initiative on Wednesday as part of a broader effort to steer Americans away from using old-fashioned paper money. Visa says it is planning to give $10,000 apiece to up to 50 restaurants and food vendors to pay for their technology and marketing costs, as long as the businesses pledge to start what Visa executive Jack Forestell calls a “journey to cashless.”
There are good reasons to think this initiative won’t get far.
Customer resistance. Food vendors, and in particular restaurants, are low margin businesses with fickle customers who have little to no loyalty. Why risk driving business away?
Aside from the fact that some customers prefer cash, a related issue is that using cards and smartphones often seem to be a tax on time. I really hate using chip cards. Mag cards were often faster than cash, since you swiped and could stuff the card back in your wallet while the transaction was being approved. Chip cards, by contrast, require you to keep the card in the machine while it is being approved, so one is very much aware of the wait. And when I’ve seen people using phones (often to buy small stuff like coffee, which really amazes me), I find that they are slower with it that they would probably be with cash, in that they seem to have to fumble with the phone to get the right app readied and then the payment doesn’t always go right through either.
And that’s before you get to the fact that ApplePay and other smartphone payments time stamp exactly when you paid, adding to the information the surveillance state is gathering about you. By contrast, even if you use a credit card at a store, Clive informs us that the card network typically retains only the date of transaction.
Higher merchant charges. I take credit and debit cards through PayPal, and also checks. And even though I am often slow to deposit checks because I find it hard to get to the bank, I’d still rather have checks despite the somewhat greater hassle because I save the 3% cut the card networks take. Visa makes the argument that handling cash has costs too, but they are the ones that have ginned up the numbers, and in my case, they don’t wash. As the Journal points out:
Indeed, many merchants prefer cash because they don’t have to share the revenue with card companies. Credit-card interchange fees, which networks like Visa set and that merchants pay to the banks that issue their cards, are on average around 2% of the transaction amount, according to the National Retail Federation, the largest trade group that represents merchants in the U.S.
“The idea that merchants don’t want to accept cash is a myth,” said Mallory Duncan, senior vice president and general counsel at the National Retail Federation.
Negative impact on employees who get tips. As one of my tax attorney buddies drily remarks, “Some people have this odd idea that cash payments aren’t taxable.” Restaurant workers who have tips as the major source of their income almost assuredly prefer getting them in cash, rather than facing the delay of having their employer receive them through the payment network which creates delay as well as the not-trivial odds that the boss might cheat them either informally or declare that he’s entitled to a processing cut. And that’s before getting to the fact that restaurant pay levels probably pre-suppose a fair bit of tax evasion, so the business owner might risk losing his better employees to competitors who hadn’t gone the no-cash route.
Enforcement. How is Visa going to police establishments that say they aren’t going to take cash? Will Visa have spies? Will Visa have audit rights?
Risk of legal challenge. As a surprisingly large number of Wall Street Journal readers pointed out, cash is a legally sanctioned means of payment. For instance:
Merchants who will no longer accept cash won’t get my business, period. Call me a Luddite, but U.S. currency pretty clearly states that “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”. It seems to me this will go to court eventually. Merchants must accept notes issued by the Fed. Sorry, that’s the way it is
That’s my take as well.
And, as someone else mentioned, what happens if you refuse to pay with a Visa, or don’t have one, after having completed the meal? Will they take cash then, or is the meal free?
So I’d be surprised if Visa had a legal leg to stand on, when trying to make these deals.
The Treasury does support the position that private business can refuse to take cash as payment for goods and services, as opposed to settlement of debts.
However, as writers following David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years, like to point out, we incur and settle debts all the time. And a bar tab or restaurant bill is a debt. The vendor provides the service<strong> without being paid, then expects you to settle the debt you incurred.
Thus the market segment Visa is targeting for this move (the Wall Street Journal headline says, Visa Takes War on Cash to Restaurants) would seem to be one where Visa is on a particularly weak legal footing. I can easily see someone with a penchant for mixing things up go to a restaurant, either not have a card or bring a card he knows will be declined (just to look like he didn’t intend to stage a stunt) and then video putting down more than enough cash to settle the bill and leave. The merchant will have no legal out. He’s been paid. And at least in any decent-sized city, no way will the cops intervene. They’ll regard this as a private dispute not worth their time. If the restaurant staff try to restrain the exiting customer, they could wind up with a very costly suit on their hands.
Taking cash may be the real point of the merchant. A savvy New York City colleague regularly points out how many New York City businesses, like pizzerias and cheap jewelry stories that never seem busy, or nail salons that have economics that don’t seem to make sense, are probably partly if not mainly in the money laundering business.
Visa has even bigger ambitions:
Visa is trying to turn those numbers more in its favor. In the U.S., it is going after spending categories, such as parking and rent, that have been entrenched in cash and check payments for decades. Abroad, it is partnering with governments to move more payments onto its network, including an agreement that it recently signed with the Polish government to move the country to a cashless system.