Meet Ethel Hülst, a 91 year-old Swede.
For the past 20-odd years, Ethel had a habit of stuffing away some cash for a rainy day.
By the time Sweden expired their old banknotes for new ones in 2015, she had stockpiled 108,450 kronas (roughly $12,000 USD) in her home.
When Ethel went to exchange her outdated notes, though, the bank flat-out denied her. She didn’t have the proper receipts, they said, therefore, they have no way of knowing if the cash was earned legitimately. (Yes, we’re talking about a 91 year-old woman here.)
“She was asked if she’s been laundering money or involved in organized crime,” Anders, her next of kin, told the press. “I think our elderly, just like my mother, get rather offended by the government assuming them criminal. She never afforded herself anything, not even a new hearing aid. Saving what was possible for a rainy day was almost a reflex.”
More absurd, Ethel’s bank doesn’t even save statements longer than ten years. But Ethel was (retroactively) required to come up with receipts from twenty years back.
“When mom was told the bank no longer had any statements from the time in question,” says Anders, “she gave up. She felt as though the government was stealing all her life savings, and that was it.”
Shortly after, Ethel died. Still holding the expired, worthless banknotes.
Such is the nature of the ongoing War on Cash.
India, as you know, is feeling much more than just a pinch. And France, too. The French are now banned from making cash purchases over $1,000.
Make no mistake: If we were betting men, we’d say, with not a quiver in our voice: This is only the beginning.
Meaning, the time is beyond ripe to begin protecting yourself from this dangerous trajectory.
How, then, should you play it, you ask? Well, according to Paul Rosenberg of Freeman’s Perspective, “Escaping financial repression has typically been done via these means:
Precious metals. Gold and silver have inherent value. No act of politics can change that. However, political systems – especially when empowered by mass surveillance – are great at stealing everyone’s gold. Just look at what Franklin Roosevelt did, long before any kind of serious surveillance. His thieving worked very well. Moreover, moving precious metals across borders is far harder now than it was then.
Bear in mind that I’m a fan of silver and gold; they are honest money. But gargantuan government armed with mass surveillance will greatly reduce their usefulness. Already, moves are afoot to ban gold in the EU.
Cash. I’m also a fan of cash. It has no value of its own of course, but it can be used privately, more or less everywhere. The problem is that it looks like it will be banned. A few end runs are possible, such as using postal money orders instead of cash, but I wouldn’t plan on them lasting.
Barter. Barter is useful and honest, but there’s a reason we use currency: It’s far more convenient.
Offshore commerce. Again, a fine way to conduct affairs, but mass surveillance plus EU and US bullying of nearly all the world’s banks has made this only a partial solution. It’s best used as part of a well-rounded Plan B.
And then, of course, there’s our beloved bitcoin. Which Rosenberg affectionately calls “anti-elite money.”
“If you’re not familiar,” Rosenberg writes, “please understand that Bitcoin is not based on existing currency models. Bitcoin is different to the point of being alien… it’s from outside. It came to us from the realm of the cypherpunks.
“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built on the opposite principle of the status quo. They allow no place for a central controller. That makes them anathema to the current monetary regime.
“Because Bitcoin and its children are thoroughly foreign to the existing financial monopolies,” Rosenberg writes, “they are the one remaining way to escape them. 15 years of mass, unquestioning compliance have locked the status quo tight.
“It seems, however, that repressed Indians are starting to figure this out. (And probably some of the Chinese as well.) As a result, the exchange rate of Bitcoin has risen significantly.”
Hiding behind bitcoin, though — where the magic happens — is an even bigger story. And, yes, an even bigger profit opportunity.
We’re talking, of course, about blockchain technology.
And 2017, we opine, is the year blockchain slips into the mainstream mind.
Cash will continue to take deadly blows all over the world. Those savvy enough to see how blockchain and digital currencies shall arise will be able to capitalize on one of the greatest wealth shifts in history.
Which is why, today, we invite trend forecaster Gerald Celente to rap about how you, rather than becoming just another victim of the War on Cash, can become a victor.
If you want to talk about a big trend that began taking shape in 2016, look no further than the state of cash — the pace at which currency across the globe was challenged or devalued accelerated in the past year.
The stage is now set for even greater momentum: In 2017, there’ll be a global sprint toward digital currency. Today, European countries lead the cashless revolution.
Belgium, France and much of Scandinavia report more than 85% percent non-cash payments. Sweden — where barely 2% of all payments are in cash — is leading the way. And Rwanda, Turkey and Australia aren’t far behind.
Government-orchestrated demonetization efforts in India, Britain, France, Austria, and other countries are also fueling the cashless movement.
When you hold cash in your hands or store it safely at home, you have physical custody of it.
You can spend it, give it away to charity… heck, you can even burn it. All without leaving a trail.
But when that cash becomes a digitally stored value, every purchase becomes part of a data stream that ultimately draws a detailed picture of who you are.
In this new cashless society, financial and governmental institutions — not you — have custody of your money.
Every purchase you make, and where and when you make them, draws a profile over time of your preferences, habits, needs and interests.
In a cashless society, you are your data — from how you spend your leisure time to an endless spate of personal habits.
And for those few remaining who steadfastly refuse to ever give up cash, forget about it: A global cashless society is fast becoming a reality.
The evidence against cash couldn’t be clearer…
Recently, under the guise of protecting against terrorism and drug cartels, the European Central Bank announced it would no longer produce the 500 Euro note. Spinning the same tale, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is promoting eliminating the $100 bill from U.S. currency. And former International Monetary Fund economist Kenneth Rogoff argues big bills should be eliminated from U.S. currency.
There’s more: The massive millennial generation across the globe shows minimal resistance against the imminent demise of cash. Indeed, digital dollars already are the way of the world.
There are no “Occupy Cash” movements anywhere. The consequences of a cashless society are out of the minds of millennials.
They’re incomprehensible to the younger Generation Z. They’re seemingly of no concern to the older, general public.
This movement, which empowers corporate giants and accelerates government control over your money and privacy, continues unabated.
The convenience millennials naturally cherish, and more boomers and seniors are forced to accept, is accelerating the transition to a cashless society.
There’s no defense against how institutions and government may use your data.
In a cashless society, Big Brother will watch even more how you spend your money, conduct your daily life and engage the world around you. Your privacy is lost. Your spending is a matter of record.
Without hard cash, every digital purchase logged is subject to taxes, fees and penalties. Owe back taxes? Overdrawn on your account? Had a lien filed against you? Forgot a mortgage payment? In a cashless society, government or big banks can more easily take your money without resistance or due process.
And in doing so, those entities will have an entirely new cache of information about you. But on it goes, despite those obvious and formidable risks.
Ranging from eliminating some currency, to negative interest rates on cash deposits, to assigning fees to cash payments and more, the war on cash grows in reach and intensity.
And so does the growing investment in the technology needed to support a digital currency world.
Bet your bottom dollar – or your digital dollar – on this: The transition to a cashless society in the United States and across the Western world, as well as much of the world, is cemented. And love it or hate it, investing in the cashless society trend is going to make a lot of people very wealthy.
Debit cards were our first big step toward a cashless economy. Now blockchain technology now lies at the heart of the second step…
Groups ranging from Wells Fargo to the London Stock Exchange are getting ready for a blockchain-based future.
You should, too.
Perhaps as early as this year, your bank or investment manager could be managing your money with blockchains.
But blockchains will reach beyond banks — it’s good for much more than logging payments. They can be used to validate the security of anything with value.
Gem, a blockchain entrant, has partnered with Capital One and healthcare giant Philips to smooth and speed payments for medical insurance claims.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company Learning Machine has partnered with MIT’s Media Lab to create a blockchain that stores and verifies academic degrees and professional certifications. A college graduate can store diplomas and certificates electronically on a smartphone.
In June, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave a $199,000 grant to Factom, a company in Austin, Texas, to figure out ways to use blockchain designs to maintain the integrity of the so-called internet of things.
With every device connected to every other one through the internet, the potential for hackers and malware skyrockets. Blockchains may be a new tool for cybersecurity.
And with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Factom is setting out to apply blockchains to secure electronic medical records as well.
It’s not only about keeping snooping insurance companies from prying into your health history.
There’s also the problem that medical records in developing countries or remote regions aren’t always accessible and sometimes not updated quickly. Blockchains resolve those problems.
Using the blockchain’s options, people could decide who may see their medical records. People could even have ready access to their own records, instead of wrangling with a doctor before getting a look.
Overall, more than $1.5 billion has been invested worldwide in blockchains’ possibilities so far.
Major companies are betting big on blockchaining’s future. To set a standard, more than 30 major companies — including Hitachi, JP Morgan and Intel — have formed Hyperledger.
That project aims to settle on a general-purpose blockchain structure that can be used by any enterprise in any industry. IBM already has chipped in tens of thousands of lines of software code to the venture.
These companies, like so many others, invest in the effort because they foresee the benefits.
In 2015, Virgin’s Richard Branson hosted a “blockchain summit” on his private Caribbean island. Goldman Sachs has put $50 million into startups creating their own blockchains.
And the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada have all announced plans to examine the pros and cons of digital currencies.
So what does blockchain mean for you? There are several startup companies that could open up a whole new market for investors. Blockchains will transform the way we exchange value in our digital, cyber-insecure future.
The time to invest in blossoming blockchain technology is now.
for Laissez Faire Today