King Charles has it pretty good.

King of a Commonwealth, multi-billionaire, and all the other stuff he gets to do as king – like ride horses.

It is worth noting that while Kingie (I assume that’s what we say now that Queenie is gone) paid £0 in inheritance tax, the government is on track to suck up a record £7.2 billion (plus an extra £700 million it’s “clawed back” recently from bereaved families).

Issues of taxes aside, one of the “processes” that takes place when the head of the monarchy dies is the replacement of their bust on circulating currency.

And it’s not just in the UK that this needs to take place.

Grab any old $5 note from Australia and you’ll find the Queen front and centre. And if you’re Australian, there’s even a little folding trick you can do with that $5 note that suggests something else (if you know, you know).

But now the Queen is gone, and all those notes need to change. Of course, they aren’t all pulled from circulation, burnt and then new ones pumped out. For one, they’re all polymer – so burning them would set net zero back at least another 50 years…

Instead, new notes and coins are minted and printed with the new designs of the new monarch on them. The old ones are then eventually phased out and pulled from circulation.

The Bank of England says that this will happen by “mid 2024” and that new ones will hit the streets when old, worn, damaged ones need to come out of circulation and if there’s “any overall increase in demand for banknotes.”

Suffice to say, that by the time King Charles’ face hits your wallets (quite literally) it may be the very last time you see a monarch on a banknote…

It may end up that the very last time you see “money” as you know it, it’ll be King Charles staring right back at you, as the precursor to ultimate government and central bank surveillance (something Nigel is also urgently warning about…).

Issues with… a lot of things

In July, just three months away, the US Federal Reserve is launching “FedNow”. Now to be clear, this is not a central bank digital currency (CBDC). This is a piece of federal infrastructure (a payment rail) to facilitate a more efficient banking system of payments and transfers between institutions.

While not a CBDC, it is an indicator of the steps taking place to facilitate the operation of a CBDC.

It should be clear to people that the implementation of a nationwide CBDC is not something that happens overnight. It takes meticulous planning, development and PR in order to get something like this off the ground.

Crashing banks and people questioning the safety of their bank as a result provides a handy step in the right direction for this.

Nonetheless, while the Federal Reserve has said it’s not yet decided on a CBDC, in my view it’s an inevitable outcome. The reasons for this are many, including:

  • Issues with regional banking
  • Issues with control of money supply
  • Issues with unaccounted funding and failed audits in government departments (such as the Pentagon)
  • Issues with financial sanctions on overseas “threats”
  • Issues with the declining power of the US dollar.

It’s a long list that keeps going, but you get the idea. There are serious issues with the financial system, banking, plus the flow and control over money when it comes to the US dollar.

Therefore, a CBDC would make perfect sense for the Fed. And when it comes to traditional finance, it would be a very significant evolution in money, the digitisation of money and finance and the overall operation of the financial system.

But for individuals, it is on the cusp of submission to ultimate control over the most important tool you must operate and function in society… money.

Now if the US presses on with a CBDC, as I expect it will, its “allies” will be in a forced position to follow suit. A CBDC USD – the “Fedollar” or “eUSD” – would need to interoperate with, say, an eGBP or eEURO to facilitate the function of trade between nations.

The European Union is awake to this fact. To its credit, it has arguably been a pioneer in the CBDC space. For some time now, we’ve known the EU would create a CBDC euro for its economic region.

We’ve seen this coming a mile off

On 12 October 2022, I sent a video update to some of my readers titled, “The future of money… is no money at all”.

I had just been to a big banking and finance conference in Amsterdam and seen representatives from the European Central Bank (ECB) present to a large audience on the implementation of a CBDC. That was the title of the presentation.

They outlined what it would be, how it could work and its benefits. They made a point of saying it wouldn’t be about control and surveillance… but we also know that’s likely not the case either – just head here to see what I mean about that.

So, we know for sure that the ECB is going to do a CBDC as well. We’ve known it for a while.

The UK has been a little more hesitant. But at the same time, we know it’s been a part of a big push to decrease cash in the economy. In fact, the Bank of England says that there’s only around 4% of money in circulation held as cash, with 96% of all money in circulation held electronically already.

We also know that in the UK in 2011, around 22 billion payments were made using cash. It was clearly the most used payment method. In 2017, debit card payments overtook cash for the first time. And in 2021, cash payments accounted for around 5 billion payments, where debit and credit cards were up around the 23 billion mark. That represents around 57% of all payments made in the UK.

Furthermore, a third of all payments in the UK in 2021 were made with contactless methods, be it a smartphone, watch or contactless card. Expect that figure to rise as well.

In short, our economy is already used to digital money. The transition to a CBDC from a practical point of view will be easy. But easy doesn’t mean the right thing either.

While most people might be fine with the idea of a currency that’s issued by the central bank, if we’re talking about digital money (which we are), then you must realise it’s not actually money at all.

Digital money is data.

And if the central bank and thereby the government has complete and utter authorisation of that data – seeing as they issue it, they would know about it – then the central bank and government has access to the most critical data about you there is: your wealth.

Furthermore, if we’re talking now about data (which we are) then you also need to understand that data is programmable. And that when a few sticky fingers control that data, there’s the possibility that it can be chopped and changed without you knowing about it.

There’s a lot of moving parts to this puzzle. But rest assured that if you’re in doubt about the idea of a CBDC or even if the central banks around the world will do it. I would say, have no doubt. But have fear. And know what to do about it.

There are of course ways to “opt out” of these threats. Ways to hedge against the uncertainty. And weirdly ways to put your money to work in what I will guarantee are ways that you would never have thought of before.

But more on that from me soon… keep an eye out!


Sam Volkering
Editor, Southbank Insider