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CBDCs: Bank of Israel governor promotes ‘central bank digital currencies’ at Davos

Hand touching digital currency inscription (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Bank of Israel’s governor sat on a panel at the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos this year to discuss “central bank digital currencies,” which the Israeli central bank has been researching since 2017.

The panel, titled, “In the Face of Fragility: Central Bank Digital Currencies,” began with moderator Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT, saying that “CBDC is top of mind, with over 100 central banks around the world engaging in research, pilots, and exploration.”

For many years, central banks around the world have been preparing for a global transition away from physical currency to digital currency, with the World Economic Forum at the forefront of these discussions.

As cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have grown in popularity, central banks have publicized their desire to create what they call “central bank digital currencies” (CBDCs).

Whereas Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized, created to operate outside of government regulation and control, central bank digital currencies, as their name suggests, would operate under the authority of the world’s central banks. Should the public accept the transition off of physical currency into this new, digital monetary system, the ability of individuals to freely buy and sell would be wholly subject to those who operate and regulate the central banks.

The global implementation of CBDCs is described by bankers around the world as a kind of monetary revolution.

In a 2020 document titled “What we must do to rebuild,” Germany’s Deutsche Bank stated that “the pandemic has accelerated the digital cash revolution,” that “worldwide lockdowns and social distancing measures have only increased the use of cards over cash,” and that “in the long term, central bank digital currencies will replace cash.”

During this year’s WEF panel on CBDCs, the Central Reserve Bank of Peru governor Julio Velarde said the following: “We have learned the hard way that revolution has to come from the central bank.”

Bank of Israel governor Amir Yaron echoed this sentiment, saying that “we’re in the midst of a technological revolution in the payment system.”

While noting that CBDCs could be “complementary” to existing digital payment systems, Yaron said CBDCs “can also, in some circumstances, crowd out some of these things.”

Should CBDCs be implemented at a national or global level, central banks would possess all transactional data.

While the WEF says in a white paper that “CBDC should be designed with as much anonymity as possible,” it says in the same paper that among the important goals for CBDCs is to “improve financial data transmission and reporting to central banks” and to “improve traceability of payments relative to physical cash.”

As Peru’s Julio Velarde said during the WEF panel, “We see the central bank digital currency as part of the solution for unbanked people – that is, we have a record of the transactions.”

Agustín Carstens, the general manager of the Bank of International Settlements (the “bank for central banks”), has made a similar statement.

Describing the difference between cash and CBDCs, Carstens said that, “in cash, we don’t know, for example, who’s using a $100 bill today,” whereas the CBDC system would grant central banks such knowledge.

Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell has also said explicitly that were the US to roll out CBDCs, they “would not be anonymous.”

Central banks would not merely possess the data of all CBDC transactions, however; they would also have control over CBDC use.

After acknowledging that central banks would know how CBDCs are spent, BIS general manager Carstens went on to say that “a key difference with the CBDC is that [the] central bank will have absolute control over the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability, and also we will have the technology to enforce that.”

Examples of ways central banks could “determine the use” of CBDCs are included in a BIS document titled “Central bank digital currencies: foundational principles and core features,” which mentions “programmable monetary policy.” The document notes that CBDCs could be programmed as “transfers with an ‘expiry date’,” or could even be programmed to be “conditional on being spent on certain goods.”

During the WEF panel on CBDCs, Yaron mentioned the Bank of Israel’s close partnership with BIS. Yaron spoke about its CBDC “interoperability” (that is, its international transaction capability) experiment with the central banks of Sweden and Norway, which took place in “the BIS innovation hub in Nordic Centre.”

Considering Israel’s central bank is working with and following the lead of the BIS, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the BIS’s model of “absolute control” of the central banks to “determine the use of [a given] expression of central bank liability” is the system in view.

Yaron also noted that there would likely be a centralized “hub” through which international CBDC transactions would pass, and wondered aloud who would build such a hub: “The important question down the road: Who will build this hub? If we do it globally, is it going to be a consolidation of central banks, international bodies like IMF, BIS? Private companies like Swift or others?”

Again, as Yaron and his partners in Sweden and Norway chose to build their experimental hub with the BIS, it is not hard to guess which of the above options he likely favors.

This same system of financial control has also been openly spoken of by England’s central bank. An article from The Telegraph notes that “digital cash could be programmed to ensure it is only spent on essentials, or goods which an employer or Government deems to be sensible.”

The article quotes Tom Mutton, director of financial technology (“fintech”) at the Bank of England. Mutton says that such “programmability” could “be a restriction on people’s freedoms,” but also says that “there could be some socially beneficial outcomes from that, preventing activity which is seen to be socially harmful in some way.”

Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov, who spoke at this year’s WEF meeting, hopes to implement CBDCs in Ukraine by 2030. Last summer, Fedorov tweeted out a video which portrays Ukraine as becoming “the first country to abandon paper money.”

It is also important to recognize that while the WEF has disassociated itself from Russia (though Putin himself was once, according to Klaus Schwab, a WEF “Young Global Leader”), the Russian government is apparently in complete alignment with the WEF on the topic of CBDCs.

As noted by Riley Waggaman of Unlimited Hangout, the Bank of Russia’s deputy governor and former director of monetary policy Alexey Zabotkin spoke at a WEF digital event as recently as 2021. During the WEF-hosted “Cyber Polygon 2021” panel, Zabotkin said that Russia’s CBDC “will permit better traceability of payments and money flow, and also explore the possibility of setting conditions on permitted terms of use of a given unit of currency.”

Assuming central banks around the world act in accordance with the quotes given above, we can summarize as follows: WEF-associated central banks around the world are working together to create an internationally integrated system of central bank digital currencies, which would give central banks the ability to know all transactional data, to have “absolute control” over the “use” of the CBDCs, and to be able to program CBDCs to prevent “activity which is seen to be socially harmful.”

We have already seen a form of this system of monetary control in the actions of institutions like PayPal, JP Morgan Chase Bank and the Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

PayPal has banned a number prominent conservative figures for expressing opinions contrary to those of the leadership of PayPal, and announced (but later retracted) a policy that would allow PayPal to fine its users $2,500 USD for spreading whatever it deemed to be “misinformation.”

JP Morgan Chase Bank canceled the bank account of the National Committee for Religious Freedom—and yet they kept among their clients Jeffrey Epstein (the late financier and sex trafficker who reportedly “belonged to intelligence”), even after his 2008 conviction for procuring a child for prostitution.

The Trudeau government famously froze the bank accounts of more than 200 non-violent, anti-mandate “Freedom Convoy” protestors in Canada.

Each of the above institutions have close ties to the World Economic Forum: PayPal and JP Morgan Chase Bank are both partners of the WEF, Justin Trudeau and at least half of his cabinet (according to Klaus Schwab) are WEF Young Global Leaders, and Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland sits on the WEF’s board of trustees.

It is clear that WEF-associated corporations, banks, and governments will punish their ideological enemies with whatever form of centralized power they can muster.

If we grant central banks the power to have “absolute control” over the data and use of our finances through the widespread adoption of central bank digital currencies, it will not be long before these massive technological powers are wielded against us.

As Cookie Schwaeber-Issan noted, we will be plunged into a system akin to the Chinese Communist Party’s social credit score system, in which our ability to buy and sell are limited according to what ideologically-motivated central authorities deem “socially harmful.”

Jacob Leonard Rosenberg is an American-Israeli, an Evangelical Christian and the son of the founder of ALL ISRAEL NEWS. He writes about the intersection of science, technology, individual liberty and religious freedom.

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