While You Were Sleeping - FedNow Goes Live Providing Path To Digital Currency

News Image By Daisy Luther/Organic Prepper July 22, 2023
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Yesterday, with a bit of fanfare but not TOO much fanfare, a "wonderful" new product was launched. FedNow is live, and we can all transfer money to our heart's content via the Federal Reserve.

Wow, that sounds great, doesn't it? Of course, that is a spot created by the Federal Reserve and up on the Federal Reserve YouTube channel.

FedNow is live at 35 banks.

Axios reports that 35 banks across the country are participating in the launch.

By the numbers: So far, 35 banks have signed up as early adopters of FedNow, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, but notably not including Citigroup or Bank of America. That number is rather lower than the Fed led us to believe as recently as recently as June.

The U.S. Treasury is also signed up as an early adopter of FedNow.

In order to use either service, both the sending and the receiving bank need to be signed up for the system.

We are now officially on that slippery slope I've been talking about. I wrote about exactly this happening in my dystopian fiction, Good Citizens, and discussed how this could evolve to control almost every aspect of our lives.

Why I'm concerned that FedNow is live

A while back, I wrote an article discussing a payment gateway designed by the Federal Reserve called FedNow. This is a way to make instant transfers between accounts, sort of like PayPal or Venmo, but without the users having to move the money from various wallets.

While it sounds convenient, the concern is that this creates the infrastructure to quickly roll out CBDCs into place. Previously, I wrote about this.

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(r) network, which serves more than 10,000 financial institutions directly or through their agents.

But what truly makes me worried is that since FedNow is live, this is a soft way to move us all over into using a federal money-transfer system that could easily, easily be the platform for the implementation of CBDCs, the digital dollar that could end freedom as we know it.

Please note that what we have with FedNow is NOT a CBDC. It's just a payment gateway.

But now, the early infrastructure is in place for CBDCs.

Changing a nation's entire currency is not an overnight project. If we were to go completely digital with our money, it would take a while. Several things would need to happen first:

A national financial infrastructure would need to be created that links accounts from all the banks to an information highway.

They'd need to get people comfortable with using this system and to do that, it would need to be fast and convenient. Who wouldn't want their money right away? It feels like a win to sell a car and have 20K in your account instantly without waiting for the check to clear.

This provides some time to work out any bugs. The folks adopting FedNow would be the guinea pigs. It's new, but everyone expects new stuff to be glitchy. If you're getting in on the ground floor, you're probably willing to be patient with that.

Next, they'll want to get as many people voluntarily using it as possible. Expect generous offers, outrageous convenience, and free or cheap transactions.

Once it's all in place and running smoothly, the final transition from cash money to digital money would just be a matter of the central bank devaluing our cash but allowing people to trade it for digital at full (or at least greater) value.

If you've never listened to me before, please listen to me now. This IS the road we're on. And once CBDCs are in place, especially if they are the only option, your every transaction will be monitored, data will be mined from your spending, and your choices can be controlled.

What's the big deal with CBDCs?

CBDC stands for Central Bank Digital Currency, and these are digital versions of a country's currency. A digital currency alongside our current physical currency is voluntary. My concern is when that digital currency becomes the only option. And I do mean when, not if.

A digital currency could mean such controls as automatic taxation or where and when you're allowed to make purchases - all at the push of a button. The most likely way this will be rolled out is to "fight inflation" and "fix the economy." As per the IMF:

A world with lower inflation (and even zero inflation) and no persistent recessions may sound like a pipe dream, but we argue that it is possible by transitioning to an "electronic money standard." Such a transition requires eliminating the zero lower bound, which central banks can achieve using readily available tools. Breaking the zero lower bound implies that the optimal rate of inflation will be lower than in the presence of the lower bound. This will empower central banks to quickly restore full employment and, over the medium term, possibly move toward targeting full price stability with zero inflation.

Obviously, any kind of manipulation like this is false, and while there may be some temporary relief, it won't solve the underlying problems with our economy.

Bank for International Settlements wrote a glowing report about the "benefits" of the CBDC system. Here's what I took away from this:

- Central bankers can execute policy or modify rates instantaneously, at the push of a button.
- Private crypto is bad.
- Central bank digital currency is good.
- CBDCs are better than crypto because they're trusted.
- CBDCs aren't "subject to the practical limitations of paper money." (i.e., they can be tracked)
- Therefore it protects against "money laundering, proliferation financing, and terrorist financing."
- It will increase the pool of data generated on users and transactions, thus "helping" the "proper authorities."
- "Multi-CBDC platforms" aids in decentralization. (i.e., a global economy)
- On a common CBDC platform across multiple central banks, transactions are recorded on one ledger.

I don't think it means what they're trying to tell us it means.

We're all just one wrongthink away from losing our money.

Remember in Canada when Trudeau locked down accounts for supporting the trucker strike? We're all just one wrongthink away from losing access to our money.

Another recent precedent regarding losing access to the financial system is the case of Nigel Farage. Both he and his relatives have had bank accounts closed and been unable to open other accounts because they've been named PEPs: Politically Exposed Persons. Farage, if you recall, was pro-Brexit. He wrote:

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Farage, who said several other banks had denied him accounts, claimed he was the victim of over-zealous anti-money laundering regulations.

"Anti-money laundering rules appear to have been wildly over-interpreted by the compliance departments of banks in the UK," he wrote in the Brexit-supporting newspaper.

"Nobody can deny that money laundering is a problem, he said. "Yet a series of agreements, EU directives and UK rules established to confront this menace have almost entirely failed to do so.

"Banks now live in fear of receiving huge fines. Their default setting seems to be to close down the business and personal accounts of anybody who is deemed to require extra due diligence - be they the owner of a window cleaning firm or a pawnbroker."

He added: "Those who are paid in cash are no longer welcome; the compliance costs of servicing these accounts makes them unprofitable."

Mr Farage initially claimed that his account with Coutts, which acts on behalf of the royal family, had been closed in an "establishment"-orchestrated revenge mission for Brexit, sparking a free speech row.

So it's already happening. People are losing access to the system for having political beliefs that oppose the status quo that the ruling administration has in place.

I know that these two examples are outside the US, but that doesn't provide me even a tiny little bit of comfort. 

Is it really a stretch of the imagination that losing banking privileges could happen here in America, the Land of Cancel Culture? 

What will you do if you can no longer use a bank? How will you get and cash your paycheck? How will you pay your bills now that so many things must be done online?

When we are no longer free to vociferously disagree, we aren't free at all.

You need a backup plan, and you need it now. FedNow is live, and I don't believe that good things will follow.

Originally published at The Organic Prepper - reposted with permission.

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