(TRUNEWS) The push for a cashless society has begun to gain steam around the globe, with nearly every major nation taking strides to adopt digital currencies, centrally governed cash controls and incentivize cashless transactions.
A Bloomberg Op-Ed published on January 31st called for the end of paper currencies, touting that “cash had a pretty good run for 4,000 years or so,” but was “dirty, dangerous, unwieldy and expensive, antiquated and so very analog.”
Now though each of these reasons all have some merit of truth behind them, such as paper currency serving as a vector for disease, incentivizing physical robberies, and complicating P2P long distance transactions, the existence of physical legal tender has an equal set of priceless characteristics.
In the Book of Revelation, God forewarned his people through the Apostle John, that during the Tribulation period the global system will be dictatorially ruled by a single political authority, known as the antichrist. In Chapter 13 verses 16-17 the antichrist’s control over the economy is described as absolute: “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” Cashless technology and centralized restrictions of transactions fit this warning.
Argentina’s currency crisis has been known for some time. In short, Argentinians don’t trust the peso and are willing to pay premium for any currency they perceive as “more stable,” especially US dollars which are traded on the black market as “blue dollars” at prices far exceeding the official exchange rate. That’s why Argentina has been tipped for some time as a country that is likely to go cashless sooner than later, with a 2014 report from the Bitcoin Market Opportunity Index ranking Argentina as the most likely jurisdiction to replace sovereign currency with bitcoin. Argentinians have reason to be wary about this New Monetary Order, however; in a move described as “an eerie glimpse of what a cashless society enables” the Argentinian government mandated that banks report every credit card purchase made in the country directly to the tax authorities and added a 15 percent tax surcharge every time a purchase is made outside the country using a credit card issued by an Argentine bank.
In Sep. 2015, the Westpac banking group issued a “Cash Free Report” touting the highly self-serving finding that “Over half (53 per cent) of payments currently made in Australia are cashless” (using Westpac online banking services like their cardless ATMs, no doubt). The report goes on to predict that Australia will be cash free by 2022. Meanwhile, the government is readying a cashless welfare system that will allow the government to control what the money is spent on like the EBT system in the U.S. Though some Aussies are embracing these systems, such as the Australian Turf Club who have implemented the Clipp cashless mobile payment system at their events, stallholders at the Taste of Tasmania felt the major shortfalls in this technology, as they experienced widespread failures during their public event, due to malfunctions in the cashless transaction system contracted by the city. In an analysis of a new report released Tuesday called the “Digital Australia: State of the Nation“, Tom Kennedy, EY’s Oceania Digital Partner, said that “with one in five Australians making contactless mobile phone payments, in 2016 we will see the next steps towards a cashless society,”
In 2007 the Canadian government stopped allowing payment of taxes in cash at government service centers. In 2010 Passport Canada followed suit. In 2011 56% of Canadians polled said they were happy to live in a central bank controlled cashless society, so the country killed the penny in 2012 and the Royal Canadian Mint started promoting the “MintChip” as a new form of electronic payment that will be “better than cash.” The Mint ended the program in 2014 but the Great White North is still on track to be a cashless society in the coming years. In an attempt to disincentivize cash transactions under the veil of “cracking down on tax fraud” and “unreported revenue”, Quebec mandated on Feb. 1 that all bars must provide a receipt to their customers, imposing fines for noncompliance ranging from $300 to $50,000. In 2015, Moneris, a Canadian processing payments firm, conducted an online survey of 1,000 people, finding that 77 percent preferred to pay for purchases by debit or credit card, and 65 percent rarely buy anything with cash anymore.
In the 1990s about 80% of Danish retail purchases were made with cash, but these days it’s more like 25%. But if the Danish government has its way, that number will be 0% by 2030. That’s the year the Danish government has set for the complete elimination of paper money in Denmark. Danish central bank chief Hugo Frey Jensen said “we’re obliged to supply the amount of cash the population and businesses demand, but on the other hand, we think it’s also important to have an efficient and secure payment infrastructure, the whole digitalization process is very important in a country like Denmark.”
The head of the EU Anti-Fraud Office Giovanni Kessler, came out earlier this year to call for abolishing the 500 euro note because they “can make the life of fraudsters much easier.” He also noted that a more widespread adoption of electronic payment systems would be better for his office because “Traceability is paramount in fighting corruption and fraud.” Under the Directive on Payment Services (PSD), the Council of the EU adopted Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) in Nov. 2015 which provided the legal foundation for the creation of an EU-wide single market cashless payment system, to be implemented by member states into their national laws and regulations by Jan. 13 2018.
In a rather abrupt turnaround from a 2014 Bundesbank paper on “The Irreplaceability of Cash,” the German Finance Ministry (perhaps egged on by the country’s leading Keynesian economist) is looking into a 5000 euro cap on all cash payments. In a follow up Tuesday, Handelsblatt reported that the Social Democrats – the junior partner in Angela Merkel’s coalition government, proposed a €5,000 limit on cash transactions and the elimination of the €500 note. Germany is still a cash-based society, though a 2014 survey found that 34% of the population makes purchases electronically already and 20% can envision making all their purchases via smartphone payment systems in the future.
When it launched in 1997, the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway’s Octopus Card was just the second contactless smart card system in the world (after South Korea’s UPass). Although originally used to pay for journeys on public transit, it can now be used at convenience stores, vending machines, supermarkets, photo booths and other retail outlets. In 2004 all metered parking spaces in Hong Kong were converted to cashless meters that required Octopus Cards for payment. According to their website, there are more than 25 million Octopus cards in circulation, which process roughly $18 million in daily transactions. The company says more than 99 percent of Hong Kong inhabitants, ages 15 to 64, possess an Octopus, and more than 14,000 retail outlets accept the cards as legal tender. In addition to the card circulation there are now more than 67,000 Octopus RFID readers throughout Hong Kong, which play a dual role of being potentially hijacked for panopticonic government surveillance.
India is one of the most cash-dependent economies in the world with a cash-to-GDP ratio of 12%, almost four times that of fellow BRICS nations Brazil and South Africa. But it won’t be for long if the Indian government has its way. Last June the Indian Ministry of Finance posted a draft proposal to its website for facilitating the rise of cashless payments in the country. In his 2015 budget speech the Finance Minister declared: “One way to curb the flow of black money is to discourage transactions in cash. Now that a majority of Indians has or can have, a RUPAY debit card. I therefore, proposes to introduce soon several measure that will incentivize credit or debit card transactions and disincentivize cash transaction.” Mr. Vinay Kalantri, Managing Director of The MobileWallet Pvt. Ltd., told IIFL that he plans to target 100 million people with his cashless transaction app, The MobileWallet, saying “we are empowering India and Indians to Go Cashless and be a part of the world’s largest movement to create a Cashless Society.”
A 2013 paper from the Central Bank of Ireland lamented Ireland’s slow adoption of electronic payments and over-reliance on cheques, noting “Ireland could save up to €1bn per year by migrating to more efficient [i.e. electronic] payment instruments.” Later that year, the Central Bank launched a National Payments plan to help facilitate the transition and kicked off a €1m national marketing campaign to encourage the migration to electronic payments. The scale of the campaign surprised many, with the Irish Independent pointing out that “It’s a major advertising spend in the current climate, where a big-promotion budget spend is considered to be in the region of €500,000 outside of the big global blue-chips.” Late last year the Cork City Centre Forum attempted to take the lead in the cashless transition by launching the “Cork Cash Out” campaign aiming “to encourage consumers to ween off cash and opt-in for electronic-only transactions instead.” As part of this initiative council officials suggested saving $443,720, by moving toward a cashless parking payments system.
In 2014 a special committee headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff Harel Locker released a report examining how to reduce the use of cash in the country. The report advocates reforms (including restrictions and limits on cash transactions) as part of a strategy whose aim is “reduced use of cash, reduced use of endorsed checks, and increased use of electronic means of payment.” On Track Innovations Ltd., the primary provider of cashless payment systems for the Iberian peninsula, is headquartered in Rosh Pina, Israel.
In 2011 newly appointed Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti made cash payments over 1000 euro illegal. “What we need is a revolution in Italians’ thinking” Monti told reporters as he announced the emergency decree which was put into law before it was even formally voted on in parliament. ZDnet reported that Italy has a very low usage of cashless transactions, with only 14.3 percent of total purchases being done electronically. Financial service providers in favor of cashless society reforms, Carta Sì, Visa, MasterCard and two banks, UBI and Banco Popolare, are currently sponsoring an initiative called the Cashless City project, in hopes of raising that percentage.
In 2013 the mayors of Almere, Rotterdam and Maastricht engaged in a publicity stunt to promote a campaign encouraging the public to abandon cash. They spent a week without spending any cash, relying solely on debit cards for purchases. The campaign is part of a long term trend away from cash and toward debit payments in many supermakets and other businesses around the country, as the MasterCard report “The Cashless Journey” noted a significant increase in cashless or ‘cards only’ registers over the past few years.
Late last week Trond Bentestuen, a senior executive at Norway’s largest bank, complained to the VG Newspaper that the Norwegian central bank “can only account for 40 percent” of the Norwegian kroner in circulation, meaning “that 60 percent of money usage is outside of any control.” There’s only one conclusion, according to Bentestuen: “There are so many dangers and disadvantages associated with cash, we have concluded that it should be phased out.” Don’t worry, though, the nation’s Finance Ministry says it has “no plans to change the law in this area.” For now.
In the Phillippines, the government has launched an “E-Peso” project with the explicit aim of “transforming communities into cashless societies.” Touted as “a digital/virtual currency based on the Philippine Peso” its main selling point (according to the E-Peso’s own website) is that: “Since E-Peso transactions are completely digital, everything will automatically be recorded onto the customer’s account activity log.” The initiative is funded by infamous CIA front USAID, which “has awarded a US$25-million, five-year project to a company called Chemonics to support the Philippine government in the promotion and adoption of e-payments in the Philippines.”
A MasterCard report on “The Cashless Journey” noted that by increasing the share of debit card transactions in the economy between 2006 and 2011, Saudi Arabia was moving at a faster than average pace toward a cashless society. Commenting on the report, Khalid Hariry of MasterCard noted: “Saudi Arabia is indeed moving at a better than average pace on its cashless journey, which has been significantly spurred along by government leadership. Regulation mandating wages assignment of employees’ to bank accounts has vastly increased access to electronic payment methods for the Saudi population over a short period of time. These changes, coming alongside initiatives to spur acceptance, and a push to migrate payments made during the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, can be expected to shift substantial share of consumer payments away from cash in the coming years.”
Last year Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology released a report stating that the country is on track to completely eliminating cash transactions in the foreseeable future. Noting that there are now only 80 billion Swedish crowns in circulation in the economy (down from 106 just six years ago), the report highlights how digital person-to-person payment technology “Swish” (developed in collaboration with Danish banks) is already transforming the country’s banking sector, where there are now entire banks that do not accept cash. Meanwhile, the Swedish public is being urged to stop using cash by no less a cultural icon than ABBA’s Björn Ulveaus, who brags that the ABBA museum is now a cashless institution.
In 2014 cashless payments surpassed cash payments for the first time in the UK, with research (from cashless payment provider Kalixo Pro) suggesting that the average Brit only carries £17.79 in cash at any time and 1 in 4 will walk away if a business doesn’t accept card payment. London buses went cashless in 2014 and just last year the Bank of England’s chief economist made the case for negative interest rates and abolishing cash.
Full article: The Antichrist’s Cashless Utopia: War on Cash in 2016 (TruNews)