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In a sign of the times, Hasbro has released a new cashless version of it's classic board game Monopoly, designed for the digital age. In Hasbro's latest edition of Monopoly, gone are the paper money and Community Chest cards.
Instead, the board game now comes with a voice-controlled, artificial intelligence device shaped like a top hat to help control the digital transactions.
Countries from around the world have been eager to implement a cashless society but none have moved as fast as Sweden.
Notes and coins now make up less than 1 percent of Sweden's economy which is ironic considering it was the first European country to issue modern banknotes, in 1661.
"No cash accepted" signs are now the norm in shops across Sweden as payments go digital and mobile but many Swedes want to take it to the next level as they blend tech with the human body.
Microchip implants that give people the ability to conduct financial transactions, monitor their health and even replace keycards to allow them to enter offices and buildings are the new rage as thousands have already been implanted.
Many experts believe this is the next logical step in a digital society that is quite happy to give up privacy for convenience. Cash is one of the last vestiges of anonymity but with every transaction digital there is a record that is being logged, analyzed and stored.. potentially forever.
Realizing the danger of such a cashless society Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency has issued a guidance warning to every household telling residents to stockpile 'cash in small denominations' for use in emergencies, such as power failures, hackers or even a cyber war which could disable the digital economy. In such a crisis, the economy would literally go back to the dark ages overnight as people would be forced to barter with no means of cash.
Last year a "systems issue" prevented customers from the CIBC, one of Canada's largest banks, from accessing their bank accounts for an entire business day. The sentiments of normally patient Canadians were ... tense. Imagine if it had been longer - how long would you be able to survive without your credit/debit cards? It served as a reminder to Canadians and everyone else who rely on everything digital how vulnerable we all are.
Our vulnerabilities to the cashless society are not only technical but political as well.
Facebook - in partnership with major banks, payment processors, and e-commerce companies - has announced plans to launch a digital currency called the Libra. Unlike decentralized, free-floating cryptocurrencies, Libra will be tied to national fiat currencies, integrated into the financial system, and centrally managed.
Critics warn Libra is akin to a "spy coin." Many of the companies involved in Libra (including Facebook itself) routinely ban users on the basis of their political views. Big Tech has booted scores of individuals and groups off social platforms for engaging in "hate" speech. If Libra one day becomes the predominant online payment method, then political dissidents could effectively be banned from all e-commerce.
A lesson from the past is the Bush administration's attacks on the credit card processors of pornography sites more than a decade ago. While we might applaud the effort to shut down pornography sites, the financial targeting set a precedent as New York's Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, appealed in a letter to major banks and credit card companies to block all transactions associated with firearms.
The efforts failed but we have seen recent attempts in a similar way with MasterCard and Visa being pressured to deny service to those that promote "hate", or put another way - Christian and Conservative businesses that don't act politically correct.
In the past, if credit cards and banks refused transactions involving something they disagreed with an individual could simply pay in cash, but once physical currency has been eliminated such purchases will require the permission of both corporations and government.
A mark to a government ruler in your right hand that controls your ability to buy or sell based on your political/religious loyalty is exactly what is described in the book of Revelation and is often referred to as "the mark of the beast".
Those who like to dismiss the book of Revelation as mere allegory may want to take another look.
The technology described in Revelation is already here and the next step is taking place before our eyes as the masses are being conditioned to accept it's spread. Slowly but surely we are also seeing our ability to conduct commerce becoming linked with our political/religious views. Are we prepared for what will happen next?