GOVERNMENT-ISSUED DIGITAL CURRENCIES COULD BRING ABOUT A DYSTOPIAN FUTURE, SECURITY EXPERTS Warn, CROODS FAMILY : “WE CHANGED THE RULES”

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For example, the Canadian government froze the bank accounts of people who protested Covid-19 vaccine mandates in 2022 — officials had to work with commercial banks to make that happen, but CBDCs could eliminate that hurdle. This means that politicians could more easily mess with the accounts of any individuals targeted by authorities, Grothoff notes.

A cashless future may mean more surveillance and less freedom with our funds.

Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed! GC 563.1
The defenders of the papacy declare that the church has been maligned, and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times and plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her sentiments.
Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put forth for eight hundred years by this haughty power? So far from being relinquished, this claim was affirmed in the nineteenth century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome asserts that the “church never erred; nor will it, according to the Scriptures, ever err ” (John L. von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, book 3, century II, part 2, chapter 2, section 9, note 17), how can she renounce the principles which governed her course in past ages? GC 563.2 – GC 564.1

The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan by Ellen G White

Jorg Greuel/Photodisc/Getty Images

MOLLY GLICK AND RAHUL RAO

JAN. 12, 2023

GOVERNMENT-ISSUED CURRENCY has taken on a whole gamut of forms — from pieces of salt to polymer bank notes with security holograms.

After centuries of reliance on physical currency, many of us can go days without touching a coin or bank note — and governments around the world want to take advantage of this digital shift. Several nations have already turned the contents of their citizens’ wallets into digits in an electronic ledger, an emerging concept called central bank digital currency (CBDC).

While China’s digital yuan has received the most attention, nearly 100 CBDCs are in the works around the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. These include economic giants like IndiaBrazil, and the Eurozone. In the United States, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is now testing out the concept with major banks.

It may seem alluring to ditch physical currency, particularly considering the boom in cashless businesses and the pandemic-induced cash shortage. And it does promise very real benefits, especially in developing countries seeking to boost financial independence and cut the high costs associated with printing and transporting cash.

But experts have also highlighted a number of downsides: The citizens subject to CBDCs could face a number of risks, including ramped-up government surveillance, data theft, and even financial punishments for political dissidents.

“At the moment I’m hoping it will be used for the best, but we also have to prepare for the worst — at least in some contexts,” Carola Westermeier, a political economist at Goethe-University Frankfurt in Germany, tells Inverse.

WHAT IS A CBDC?

CHINA - 2022/07/25: In this photo illustration, the Chinese online payment platform owned by Alibaba...
Digital payments like Alipay are highly popular in China, where up to about 60 percent of purchases are now cashless.SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Economists don’t fully agree on what a “central bank digital currency” actually entails, and each country has plenty of leeway in designing its own. But all CBDCs do have a few things in common.

For one, it must be digital — existing as numbers in an electronic record known as a ledger, not as coins or bank notes that change literal hands in physical space.

Plenty of people already pay digitally, so the demand is there. This year, around 41 percent of Americans ditched cash for their weekly purchases (up from 24 percent in 2015), according to a 2022 Pew Research Center study. While estimates vary, up to 60 percent of China’s purchases are now cashless — driven not just by credit cards, but also by mobile payment apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay.

But unlike forms of other digital payment, a CBDC falls under the control of a country’s central bank, which the government itself regulates.

While paying with a CBDC could feel similar to pulling up a digital wallet like Bitcoin, the transaction would be backed by a government authority — essentially the opposite of crypto’s radical, anti-regulation origins.

“THE FRONT-END EXPERIENCE IS GOING TO BE, I THINK, IDENTICAL.”

Behind the scenes, a CBDC would enable a central bank to interact directly with the people. For instance, an American digital dollar would allow everyone to open an electronic account at the Federal Reserve as if it were an online bank.

This type of payment could speed up money processing and help people avoid the pesky fees issued by commercial banks, Christian Grothoff, a computer scientist at Bern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, tells Inverse.

Overall, though, it may not feel too different from opening up a checking account with, say, Bank of America or Wells Fargo.

“The average American is not going to be able to tell the difference between a checking account at the Fed and a checking account at the Bank of America,” David Andolfatto, an economist at the University of Miami in Florida who has worked at the U.S. Federal Reserve, tells Inverse. “The front-end experience is going to be, I think, identical.”

But on the back end, it isn’t quite clear how much power governments would hold over our funds — and the detailed digital trail our transactions leave behind.

EYES ON OUR WALLETS

An illustration of abstract background with random green number in black background for finance
CBDCs would drastically shift the role of central banks and could enable government corruption.George Pachantouris/Moment/Getty Images

Even if a CBDC isn’t a major change for customers in its look and feel, it would certainly mark a major shift for central banks. Historically, central banks have issued currency — not managed its day-to-day use. Cash is relatively anonymous, after all. But with a CBDC, that layer of anonymity would likely vanish.

Security advocates have pointed out how a government could theoretically track all of its citizens’ purchases and gain intimate knowledge of someone’s daily activities. And while CBDCs could afford users privacy by making some low-value transactions anonymous, legal restrictions in many countries make anonymous CBDCs practically impossible.

In attempts to crack down on illicit transactions like money laundering and terrorism financing, governments usually require financial institutions to tie their accounts to identity documents. That clearly ties a CBDC account to its user’s name.

It’s theoretically possible, then, for the authorities to monitor what people are doing with their money, coerce them into spending on certain things, or target individuals based on their spending.

“HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THE DATA IS REALLY GONE?”

For example, the Canadian government froze the bank accounts of people who protested Covid-19 vaccine mandates in 2022 — officials had to work with commercial banks to make that happen, but CBDCs could eliminate that hurdle. This means that politicians could more easily mess with the accounts of any individuals targeted by authorities, Grothoff notes.

And if officials don’t meddle with our data, someone else could. Some economists warn that if the data isn’t handled correctly, third parties could crunch it in dubious ways.

Already, insurance companies quote customers using highly personalized data that has resulted in price discrimination.

To me, this is the most important issue with CBDC and I don’t see any clear solution to it,” Cyril Monnet, an economist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, tells Inverse. “Erasing data after a year or so may be a solution, but how do we make sure the data is really gone?”

For now, major powers like the Central European Bank and the Federal Reserve are still figuring out how to deal with this highly sensitive information in a CBDC structure. And even if leaders do safeguard financial details, transitions in leadership — including a sudden coup — could suddenly endanger citizens’ data.

“How can [central banks] make sure that, first of all, they don’t abuse it, but also that they don’t lose it to somebody who might abuse it?” Grothoff says. “And what if the government changes and tomorrow you have a way worse government in power?”

POLITICIZED PAYMENTS

Hands of two african individuals doing financial transaction with a point of sales POS terminal as C...
Since the rollout of Nigeria’s eNaira, authorities have made it more difficult to use cash.Shutterstock

Despite the many unknowns, a few real-life examples hint at what a CBDC looks like in practice.

The highest-profile CBDC project can be found in China, whose digital yuan — the eCNY — made its international debut at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. China has been tinkering with the eCNY for the better part of a decade. Now, the government is pushing the system in a bid to become the world’s first cashless society.

But the digital yuan is hardly used at the moment, perhaps because it doesn’t offer a clear advantage over existing payment apps. And while the popular apps Alipay and WeChat Pay have both integrated the eCNY, it may not be entirely noticeable to users.

It’s a similar deal with Nigeria’s eNaira, a CBDC introduced by its central bank in October 2021. Less than 0.5 percent of Nigerians use it, according to Iwa Salami, a finance regulation expert at the University of East London in the U.K.

So if CBDCs aren’t particularly helpful for the average person, why are some governments looking into them?

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It turns out that they could help nations challenge the dominance of the dollar in international trade. CBDCs can help nations avoid middlemen like American credit card companies or the U.S.-dominated SWIFT network that connects financial institutions around the globe. In fact, CBDCs and cryptocurrencies could even help countries avoid U.S. sanctions.

“THERE ARE WAYS [FOR] STATES TO TRY AND ENFORCE CBDCS AS THE DOMINANT FORM OF PAYMENT.”

“Countries see themselves dependent on American technology, especially for payment systems,” Grothoff says. “By establishing CBDCs and making those interoperable without relying on the American system, they might be able to get around sanctions.”

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When it comes down to it, the proposed benefits of CBDCs could just as well be accomplished by making existing options easier — and cheaper — to use, some experts say. After all, they’re likely not helpful in countries where significant amounts of people don’t have a mobile phone or internet access in the first place. They could even worsen the inequalities they’re meant to help solve by raising the price of physical payments.

You may be wondering: Could governments try to phase out cash entirely?

That may already be the case in Nigeria.

On December 7, the government drastically restricted the amount of cash ATMs in the country could disperse, from 2.5 million naira (around $5,620) per week to just 100,000 naira (around $225), with a 20,000-naira (around $45) daily limit. Ostensibly, the move is to combat I counterfeiting — but it’s the stick pushing naira users to go digital.

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“There are ways [for] states to try and enforce CBDCs as the dominant form of payment — and we will see how that plays out,” Westermeier says.

These records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome toward the true Sabbath and its defenders, and the means which she employs to honor the institution of her creating. The word of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the Sunday.
The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns (America) shall cause “the earth and them which dwell therein” to worship the papacy—there symbolized by the beast “like unto a leopard.” The beast with two horns is also to say “to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast;” and, furthermore, it is to command all, “both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,” to receive the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:11-16. It has been shown that the United States is the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns, and that this prophecy will be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome claims as the special acknowledgment of her supremacy. But in this homage to the papacy the United States will not be alone. The influence of Rome in the countries that once acknowledged her dominion is still far from being destroyed. And prophecy foretells a restoration of her power. “I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Verse 3. The infliction of the deadly wound points to the downfall of the papacy in 1798. After this, says the prophet, “his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Paul states plainly that the “man of sin” will continue until the second advent. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. To the very close of time he will carry forward the work of deception. And the revelator declares, also referring to the papacy: “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life.” Revelation 13:8. In both the Old and the New World, the papacy will receive homage in the honor paid to the Sunday institution, that rests solely upon the authority of the Roman Church.
Since the middle of the nineteenth century, students of prophecy in the United States have presented this testimony to the world. In the events now taking place is seen a rapid advance toward the fulfillment of the prediction. With Protestant teachers there is the same claim of divine authority for Sundaykeeping, and the same lack of Scriptural evidence, as with the papal leaders who fabricated miracles to supply the place of a command from God. The assertion that God’s judgments are visited upon men for their violation of the Sunday-sabbath, will be repeated; already it is beginning to be urged. And a movement to enforce Sunday observance is fast gaining ground.
Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Roman Church. She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their acceptance of the false sabbath and that they are preparing to enforce it by the very means which she herself employed in bygone days. Those who reject the light of truth will yet seek the aid of this self-styled infallible power to exalt an institution that originated with her. How readily she will come to the help of Protestants in this work it is not difficult to conjecture. Who understands better than the papal leaders how to deal with those who are disobedient to the church?
The Roman Catholic Church, with all its ramifications throughout the world, forms one vast organization under the control, and designed to serve the interests, of the papal see. Its millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope. Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every pledge inimical to her interests.
History testifies of her artful and persistent efforts to insinuate herself into the affairs of nations; and having gained a foothold, to further her own aims, even at the ruin of princes and people. In the year 1204, Pope Innocent III extracted from Peter II, king of Arragon, the following extraordinary oath: “I, Peter, king of Arragonians, profess and promise to be ever faithful and obedient to my lord, Pope Innocent, to his Catholic successors, and the Roman Church, and faithfully to preserve my kingdom in his obedience, defending the Catholic faith, and persecuting heretical pravity.”—John Dowling, The History of Romanism, b. 5, ch. 6, sec. 55. This is in harmony with the claims regarding the power of the Roman pontiff “that it is lawful for him to depose emperors” and “that he can absolve subjects from their allegiance to unrighteous rulers.”—Mosheim, b. 3, cent. 11, pt. 2, ch. 2, sec. 9, note 17. (See also Appendix note for page 447.)
And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes. The principles of Gregory VII and Innocent III are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And had she but the power, she would put them in practice with as much vigor now as in past centuries. Protestants little know what they are doing when they propose to accept the aid of Rome in the work of Sunday exaltation. While they are bent upon the accomplishment of their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish her power, to recover her lost supremacy. Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or control the power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured.
God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive structures in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution. GC 578.2 – GC 581.2

The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan by Ellen G White

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