War On Cash Escalates: China Readies Digital Currency, IMF Says “Extremely Beneficial”

Remember when Bitcoin and its digital currency cohorts were slammed by authorities and written off by the elite as worthless? Well now, as the war on cash escalates, officials from The IMF to China are seeing the opportunity to control the world’s money through virtual (cash-less) currencies. Just as we warned most recently here, state wealth control is the goal and, as Bloomberg reports, The PBOC is targeting an early rollout of China’s own digital currency to “boost control of money” and none other than The IMF’s Christine Lagarde added that “virtual currencies are extremely beneficial.”

By way of background, as we explained previously, What exactly does a “war on cash” mean?

It means governments are limiting the use of cash and a variety of official-mouthpiece economists are calling for the outright abolition of cash. Authorities are both restricting the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from banks, and limiting what can be purchased with cash.

These limits are broadly called “capital controls.”

Why Now?

Why are governments suddenly so keen to ban physical cash?

The answer appears to be that the banks and government authorities are anticipating bail-ins, steeply negative interest rates and hefty fees on cash, and they want to close any opening regular depositors might have to escape these forms of officially sanctioned theft. The escape mechanism from bail-ins and fees on cash deposits is physical cash, and hence the sudden flurry of calls to eliminate cash as a relic of a bygone age — that is, an age when commoners had some way to safeguard their money from bail-ins and bankers’ control.

Forcing Those With Cash To Spend or Gamble Their Cash

Negative interest rates (and fees on cash, which are equivalently punitive to savers) raise another question: why are governments suddenly obsessed with forcing owners of cash to either spend it or gamble it in the financial-market casinos?

The conventional answer voiced by Mr. Buiter is that recession and credit contraction result from households and enterprises hoarding cash instead of spending it. The solution to recession is thus to force all those stingy cash hoarders to spend their money.

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And so now we see China pushing for the early unleashing its own virtual currency, as Bloomberg reports

Issuance of digital currency can help reduce costs, curb crimes and money laundry, facilitate transactions and boost central bank’s control on money supply and circulation, PBOC says in statement on website after concluding a seminar today.

PBOC has asked its research team, which was set up in 2014, to study application scenarios for digital currency and strive for an early rollout.

PBOC Statement:

People’s Bank of China digital currency seminar held in Beijing. From the People’s Bank, Citibank and Deloitte digital currency expert, respectively, on the overall framework of digital currency currency evolving national digital currency, encryption currency issued by the State and other topics of discussion and exchange. People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan attended the meeting, the People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Chair Fan Yifei. Relevant research institutions, major financial institutions and advisory bodies of experts attended the meeting.

The meeting held that China’s current economy under the new norm, explore the central bank issued digital currency has a positive practical significance and far-reaching historical significance. It can reduce the traditional distribution of digital currency note issue, the high cost of circulation, improve convenience and transparency of economic transactions and reduce money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal acts to enhance the central bank’s money supply and currency in circulation control, better support economic and social development, the full realization of inclusive finance help. Future, digital currency issuance, circulation system also helps build our new financial infrastructure construction, further improve China’s payment system, improve payment and settlement efficiency, promote economic quality and efficiency upgrades.

This inversion of capitalism dooms an economy to all the ills we are experiencing in abundance: rising income inequality, reduced opportunities for entrepreneurship, rising debt burdens, and a short-term perspective that voids the longer-term planning required to build sustainable productivity and wealth.

Benefits To Banks and the Government of Eliminating Physical Cash

The benefits to banks and governments by eliminating cash are self-evident:
  1.  Every financial transaction can be taxed.
  2.  Every financial transaction can be charged a fee.
  3.  Bank runs are eliminated.

So, when the dust has settled who ultimately benefits by this war on cash – government and the central banks, pure and simple.

Full article: War On Cash Escalates: China Readies Digital Currency, IMF Says “Extremely Beneficial” (Zero Hedge)

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