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The arguments for and against digital money

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FedNow is launching in July, as mentioned in March. Interestingly, there has been a huge debate about this as Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Junior tweeted:

Yes, Robert is the son of the late Kennedy senior, brother of JFK and the long line dynasty of democratic Americans who have shaped modern America. Unfortunately RFK Jr called this one wrong. Fednow is nothing to do with a CBDC – the digital dollar is still to come, and is currently inviting commentary from anyone who has a view – which made many laugh at Kennedy Junior for being so ill informed.

What I find interesting is that there are many in the USA arguing that the digitalisation of the dollar will lead to Big Brother and the loss of freedoms for Americans. Note that sentence at the start of Kennedy’s tweet:

CBDCs grease the slippery slope to financial slavery and political tyranny

I was then intrigued to read another article on Techcrunch, who I respect, that makes the point that most informal services, such as gardeners and dog wlakers, get paid in cash. FedNow will change this to be digital but, in so doing, will bring in the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), the tax office.

With the advent of FedNow, contractors can now get paid immediately, specifically via ACH, which will result in many transactions moving away from cash as the primary medium of payment. Yet, while this is cause for celebration among independent contractors, increased transaction traceability brings with it increased tax reporting requirements and liabilities.

It is a similar point made by RFK Jr:

A CBDC tied to digital ID and social credit score will allow the government to freeze your assets or limit your spending.

Although his tweet was wrong – FedNow is just faster payments for America and not a CBDC – the responses to his tweet are fascinating. Here’s a few that I selected:

I don’t remember ever agreeing to a debt slavery system I was born into and didn’t create. Anyone else think it’s about damn time to become ungovernable and stop paying taxes to illegitimate tyrants that only uses it to enrich themselves, start wars, and kill us for profit?

Mindy Robinson

In other words, the gov't controlled digital currency is the same as if they put a ball and chain on our legs.

Montgomery Granger

Tanking the dollar on purpose to make us all poor and compliant under the digital (social credit) dollar. The media will gaslight and the populous will  bend the knee.

JR Moore

There are many more of this ilk but, thankfully, a few folks resist the idea.

Stop lying.  FedNow is like PayPal except for banks.


Everything you say is just garbage ... FedNow is not a CBDC and if you had any brains at all, you'd welcome it because it makes implementing a CBDC make even less sense.

Scott Santens

What I find interesting is the confusion between faster payments and digital currencies, freedom and government. Obviously there is a balance, but the discussion above represents the confusion over intrusion.

Going to the Federal Reserve’s website, they have an interesting white paper about FedNow and the digital dollar –The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation (PDF).

I guess what intrigues me in seeing how this is playing out is the hopes and fears of the average American or, more importantly, the average person on the streets of any city or town in the world. We call it the man on the Clapham Omnibus: a hypothetical ordinary and reasonable person ... introduced into English law during the Victorian era.

So, what would this person on a Victorian bus make of the government being able to track and trace their movements?

The intelligent person would say: well, using any anonymous system that cannot be tracked and traced – cash – is what I would use for paying my gardener or dog walker; running my life – paying my mortgage or getting a loan – is fine to be done through a system digitally, even if the government could see it.

I guess the issue is that democrats and conservatives, libertarians and statists, view this very differently. The former want liberty and privacy, the latter want state and control. It’s really all about swings and roundabouts, rules and balances, control versus intrusion.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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