As central bank digital currency (“CBDC”) pilots proliferate, a myriad of elite-gilded and blockchain-powered digital payment networks are vying for their technologies and payment systems to be incorporated into the developing digital currency infrastructures of tomorrow.
In plain English, that means major players in the cryptocurrency world are playing key roles in the ongoing CBDC pilot projects, globally.
Their end game? A digital financial grid primed for abuse.
The following has been paraphrased from an article ‘As CBDCs Roll Out, Elite-Backed Digital Payment Systems Vie to Build the “Global Payment Standard”’ published by Unlimited Hangout on 23 December 2023.
CBDCs are a programmable, central bank-issued digital version of a country’s fiat currency.
As the CBDC race heats up, major players in the crypto world are playing key roles in ongoing CBDC pilot projects globally. While many crypto players are interested in facilitating CBDCs, this article focuses on Ripple, Stellar, and Ethereum, all of which are blockchain-based platforms being utilised in multiple CBDC pilot projects.
While CBDC proponents tout them as fast, convenient, and ideal for cheaper international transactions, Unlimited Hangout has previously elaborated on CBDCs’ propensity to undermine anonymity, foster surveillance and even, in terms of programmability, be used to enforce policies or otherwise be weaponised to manipulate or control peoples’ financial activities and behaviour. If rolled out on a wider scale and introduced in tandem with other tools, like Digital IDs, Unlimited Hangout contributors have posited that CBDCs could “be used to monitor our whereabouts, limit our freedom of movement and control our access to money, goods and services.”
As per the Atlantic Council’s CBDC tracker, 130 countries representing 98 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (“GDP”) are now exploring a CBDC. Juniper Research recently estimated that the global value of CBDCs will jump from around $100 million today to $213 billion by 2030.
These organisations’ collective facade of inclusivity and altruism obfuscates their true nature as elite-backed or otherwise compromised groups helping centralise, digitise, and even possibly program or otherwise weaponise money in ways unaccountable to traditional policymaking processes and the public, thus bringing them immense power while helping facilitate what could functionally amount to a financial digital control grid.
Key to the functioning of cryptocurrencies, blockchain is often described as a cornerstone for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an ongoing and controversial technological revolution popularised by elite-gilded groups like the World Economic Forum (“WEF”), Deloitte, and Ernst & Young, that seeks to blur the boundaries of the physical, digital and biological spheres.
Major crypto players depict their CBDC-related efforts as strides toward an often “borderless” paradigm characterised by financial inclusion, equity, sustainability and modernity in an increasingly digital world. In reality, they are more interested in having a major stake in, or even control over, the money of tomorrow.
Ripple’s mission is to “build breakthrough crypto solutions for a world without economic borders,” according to its X/Twitter profile.
Developing a CBDC platform for central banks to use, Ripple is “in talks” with over a dozen governments for the purposes of CBDC development. Ripple is or has participated in CBDC pilots for Montenegro, Palau, Bhutan, and Colombia. It was also tapped to facilitate the National Bank of Georgia’s CBDC pilot.
According to its 2022 ‘Fintech for good’ report, Ripple’s donated about $170 million towards “philanthropy” since 2018, committing $100 million to “scaling carbon markets” and $25 million to “NGOs working to make global financial services more inclusive and equitable.” Indeed, Ripple describes its business model as eco-friendly and “on track to achieve carbon net zero by 2030 or sooner through reduced emissions, clean energy use, and large investments in innovative carbon removal projects.”
Ripple has previously collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on financial inclusion initiatives that are part and parcel of the political elite looking to influence or dominate the financial system:
Ripple is a Sponsor member of the Gates Foundation-backed Mojaloop Foundation and built Mojaloop’s Interledger Protocol.
The Ripple-supported Mojaloop participates in the Level One Project, a Gates Foundation initiative that “proposes a new low-cost payments system that supports inclusive, interoperable digital payments.”
Ripple participates in with players including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coil, Google, ModusBox, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).