FedNow Instant Payments Are Coming And CBDCs Will Follow
There’s absolutely no doubt that our financial system is in flux right now. We’re watching a storm approach, and it’s about to envelop the entire nation in chaotic conditions. If you think things are crazy now, just hang on to your halo…it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
Remember how we talked about CBDCs a few weeks ago, and lots of people in the comments said never, no way, and heck no? Well, unfortunately, it’s being rolled out and soon.
Of course, they’re not calling it CBDCs. Not yet.
It’s under another name, and it’s not quite a federal digital currency. I’m sure this, too, will be called a conspiracy theory, but the Federal Reserve is launching FedNow, an instant digital payment system. This in itself is not a Central Bank Digital Currency, but it puts into place the framework needed to make the idea a reality.
FedNow will be launched in July, according to a press release from the Federal Reserve.
What is FedNow?
On March 15th, in the midst of the banking collapses, the Federal Reserve issued a press release detailing a new instant payment system that will be launched in July. That system is called FedNow. Here’s what they said about it.
The first week of April, the Federal Reserve will begin the formal certification of participants for launch of the service. Early adopters will complete a customer testing and certification program, informed by feedback from the FedNow Pilot Program, to prepare for sending live transactions through the system.
Certification encompasses a comprehensive testing curriculum with defined expectations for operational readiness and network experience. In June, the Federal Reserve and certified participants will conduct production validation activities to confirm readiness for the July launch.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the forthcoming FedNow launch, which will enable every participating financial institution, the smallest to the largest and from all corners of the country, to offer a modern instant payment solution,” said Ken Montgomery, first vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and FedNow program executive. “With the launch drawing near, we urge financial institutions and their industry partners to move full steam ahead with preparations to join the FedNow Service.”
Many early adopters have declared their intent to begin using the service in July, including a diverse mix of financial institutions of all sizes, the largest processors, and the U.S. Treasury.
This has all the hallmarks of a government strategy. First, they offer it as a “convenience” or a “safety measure.” Lots of people will jump on board in order to take advantage of this.
Of course, we’ve heard this song before.
Next, it will be pushed harder, and those who don’t adopt it will be mocked, thought of as backward, and treated with suspicion. After that, it’ll be darn near impossible to do anything without it. Sound familiar?
The Federal Reserve Banks are developing the FedNow Service to facilitate nationwide reach of instant payment services by financial institutions — regardless of size or geographic location — around the clock, every day of the year. Through financial institutions participating in the FedNow Service, businesses and individuals will be able to send and receive instant payments at any time of day, and recipients will have full access to funds immediately, giving them greater flexibility to manage their money and make time-sensitive payments. Access will be provided through the Federal Reserve’s FedLine® network, which serves more than 10,000 financial institutions directly or through their agents.
You can find more of the Fed’s sales pitch at FedNowExplorer.org.
This is NOT the digital dollar…yet.
So let me be perfectly clear. This, in itself, is not the implementation of CBDCs. Instead, it’s the payment network needed to implement CBDCs. An infrastructure, in a manner of speaking.
There’s a clear benefit to the system that will make people want to participate, especially those who do business online or who transfer large amounts of money. Who wouldn’t want the proceeds from the sale of their home to be instantly available?
This is just the system that allows payments to be made via a federal government network using existing banks. FedNow could quickly lead to FedCoin and it wouldn’t take much effort at all.
There is a precedent for federal payment networks turning into federal digital currency.
Just last week, Marie wrote about the digital identity service that is funded by the US and is being used in Ukraine. It’s a mechanism of digital control, plain and simple, being portrayed as something to make the lives of Ukrainians easier.
But that’s not the only digital program out there we need to be concerned about as a precedent. A writer for the website BeinCrypto reported several other incidences that could show us our future:
According to global data, the instant payments ecosystem was valued at $100 trillion in 2021. And Asian countries like India and China are leading the sector, with the U.S. slightly late to join the club.
India employs a payment infrastructure based on the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) to offer instant payment services to customers and merchants. Global data show India is the most active market, with transaction volume hitting $39.8 billion in 2021. With that, India has expanded its e-rupee pilot as part of its CBDC trials.
China, which ranks second in that category, has widely used Alipay and WeChat for instant mobile payments. The nation has also pushed to adopt a digital yuan as its centrally-backed digital currency.
So, to be clear…they instituted instant payment services, then a federal digital currency followed shortly thereafter.
It’s a pattern.
Here’s what The Department of the Treasury says about CBDCs.
The Department of the Treasury has a “CBDC Working Group” exploring the feasibility of the project. It is coming. And they’re being completely open about it. Here’s some information from the Dept. of Treasury website:
CBDC is one of several options for upgrading the legacy capabilities of central bank money. Another is real time payment systems: The Federal Reserve has indicated that it expects to launch the FedNow Service this year, which will be designed to allow for near-instantaneous retail payments on a 24x7x365 basis, using an existing form of central bank money (i.e., central bank reserves) as an interbank settlement asset. In contrast, a CBDC would involve both a new form of central bank money and, potentially, a new set of payment rails. Both real time payment systems and CBDCs present opportunities to build a more efficient, competitive, and inclusive U.S. payment system.
In the United States, policymakers are continuing to deliberate about whether to have a CBDC, and if so, what form it would take. The Fed has also emphasized that it would only issue a CBDC with the support of the executive branch and Congress, and more broadly the public. Even as policy deliberations continue, the Fed is conducting technology research and experimentation to inform design choices so that it is positioned to issue a CBDC if it were determined to be in the national interest.
The entire article bears reading. You will have no further doubt this is the plan when you do.
They also mentioned that this will help us to do business with other countries that have CBDCs.
…jurisdictions around the world are exploring CBDCs. According to the Atlantic Council’s tracker, 114 countries, representing over 95 percent of global GDP, are exploring CBDC. 11 countries have fully launched CBDCs, while central banks in other major jurisdictions are researching and experimenting with CBDCs, with some at a fairly advanced stage. The Bank of England (BOE) and HM Treasury (HMT) recently published a consultation paper assessing the case for a retail CBDC and outlining a proposed technological model. BOE and HMT now are entering the design phase of their work, estimated to take two to three years, after which the BOE and the UK government will decide whether to build a “digital pound.” In addition, there are multiple cross-border CBDC pilots, which involve central banks, international organizations such as the Bank for International Settlements, and private financial institutions.
Global currency, anyone?
Here’s what has to happen to make this widely accepted.
The banking crisis of the past few weeks feels like part of the plan to me. While I know we had many poor economic decisions that have led us to this point, pulling the plug now seems rather timely.
To make CBDCs widely accepted and even welcome, a few things have to happen first.
1.) Cryptocurrency has to fail. Several of the banks involved in this crisis have been highly invested in crypto. Silvergate, which hasn’t been mentioned as much, advertises itself as having “industry-leading banking and payments solutions for innovative digital currency and fintech companies.” The banking crisis is devastating cryptocurrency, which is one of the most anonymous and regulation-free payment methods in the modern world. Anything outside of government control has to go. This video talks more about “killing crypto.”
2.) Inflation has to continue. Keeping the “value” of digital dollars stable would be a way to “fight inflation.” Do you want to buy a box of mac and cheese for $3 cash? Or would you rather pay 1 FedCoin instead? Making a FedCoin an option that “fights inflation” would get a lot of people to adopt it voluntarily.
3.) People have to be desperate. If your bank account was suddenly emptied and you had nothing left – no retirement fund, no savings, no checking, nothing – what would you agree to in order to restore it all? What if you were offered a bailout but it was in the form of a different kind of dollar – a CBDC to replace the dollars you lost, but that you can only use digitally? I’d say yes, and I think that most of us would. We’ve got bills to pay, we owe on our mortgages and our taxes, we need groceries, our kids have tuition due…hell, yes, we’d nearly all say “yes” no matter how grudgingly.
If those three things happen, we’re in a perfect position for CBDCs to be forced upon us. It could very likely turn into our only legal tender, as I’ve written before.
Steve Forbes shares his rather terrifying thoughts on the potential abuses in a country based on CBDCs, calling it a “formula for tyranny.”
And if it’s our only legal tender, we’re looking at a cashless society and all the controls that such a thing allows. I wrote about it here. It would affect nearly every facet of our everyday lives, and every dime we spend would be subject to surveillance. The potential for abuse of power and lack of privacy is breathtaking. The government would literally hold a monopoly on money and financial transactions.
What are our options?
I hate writing about problems without offering solutions. This one is very difficult, though, because it may become something nearly impossible to escape. But I do think there are a few things we can do.
Stock up. Use your current money to stock up on essentials. Everything you get now is something you won’t need to get using that looming system of digital surveillance.
Become debt-free. Owe as little money as possible so you have less that absolutely must go through the system.
Create a network. Marie wrote a great article a while back about having a barter network already in place. Have people you can trade with for skills, goods, and services.
Invest in precious metals. If you have savings that you don’t want to see made digital, one way you can protect them is by purchasing physical gold and silver. You can go here to talk to an expert for free about a metals strategy that will work for your unique situation. It’s very educational, and there’s no pressure whatsoever to buy.
Learn skills. Not only will these help you with the ability to barter, but it means you have to spend less money through the system to get things done.
Prepare to live without the system but know that it may not be possible to be fully outside the system. I’d love to say that every single person can live 100% free of the system, that’s not realistic at all. There will be some things that you can’t avoid that are within the system, whatever that system may look like. Taxes, purchases of property, vehicles, pay from your job, medical care – most, if not all, of these things will require some participation in the system. Think about what you are giving away about yourself and participate wisely and only when necessary. Get our free ebook heree about starving the beast for more ideas.