A few weeks ago, we wrote a series of articles about the threat of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Nigel Farage gave his take on CBDCs here too. But now it’s time to hand you over to one of your fellow readers with his rather intriguing take on the matter…

Good afternoon Nick,

Thank you for your articles about britcoin — recent and historic. I follow them avidly as it mirrors a prophecy of an economics lecturer of my training predicted over 35 years ago. 

If you look at the monetary policies over the last few decades you will notice that most, if not all, of the restrictions have been linked to the purported reduction of criminal activity. (If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.) 

With the enrichment of modern societies, most of the need for the black economy has also been removed. The jobs that are paid in cash, or in kind, and the swaps that used to go on in the pubs around the country, have all but stopped.  I haven’t brought a rabbit in the pub for over twenty years. That’s just one item – village pubs were a trading post. Those were better times I think.

Apart from, for example, organised crime, the black economy has been all but removed by government, monetary policies, and easy living.  The lockdown highlighted the amount of money the public held, in banks, jam jars and under the mattresses, which the government suspected but now had proof.

So with the reduction of the black economy to a tolerable stain, the next thing to control is the R & R (Rainy day & Retirement) pots of the public.

As you indicated, the first possible introduction will be through pensions and social benefits – easy to control and easy to monitor as all participants are on the system already. 

But I think the main drive will start to arrive through the auspices of reducing criminal activity (if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear). And as you know, this move will ham string any further resistance to its introduction. 

The EU are pulling into the control system the banks, insurers, fund holders and fintech, so there will be very little left to be free with your money that was. Soon they will have it all…but will they?

Initially it would seem that they would have won, and I would say that the initial rounds in this fight are to them – everything run and owned by them. 

However, do you think that organised crime will just pack up and go away? Or just expand into other areas of commerce. 

I suspect what will happen is that there will become two currencies – the official and the unofficial. They may be able to control what certain products can be purchased with britcoin, but they will never remove the desire for those products, and the black economy will re-emerge as an inevitable side effect.

They may feel that they have reduced the populus to the status of a pussy cat, but reading histories, indicates to me that a far greater beast is going to emerge from the populus.

It reminds me of this quote from Star Wars: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” The idea being that the harder a government tries to squeeze its population into something, the more people end up resisting and doing the opposite.

The net effect of making the things we desire illegal is to make people into law breakers. Each generation understands this regarding a specific prohibition, such as alcohol, homosexuality, racism, drugs, music intellectual property, etc, etc, but very few people manage to see the bigger picture. It’s the attempt to make things illegal that causes the trouble.

But it also creates opportunity. In France, about a third of cigarettes smoked were bought illegally according to KPMG. You’ll never guess who funded the research.

No, it was the tobacco industry, whose revenues are hit.

And so it will always be – big business getting into the bed that government created and doing us all over together.

What CBDCs change is that they raise the level of surveillance dramatically and make it possible to impose policies by government decree and enforcement. They’d no longer need to ask your banker to monitor, report, freeze and then take your money away from you. They’d just do it themselves.

The real question is how law-abiding citizens can nevertheless protect themselves from this new squeeze of governments, big corporations and do-gooders.

Over at The Fleet Street Letter, Nigel Farage and I, with the help of investment director Eoin Treacy, have a plan.

Until next time,

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom