By Brandon Smith
This article was written by Brandon Smith and originally published at Birch Gold Group
There has been extensive discussion in the past couple of years within alternative media circles about the dangers of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs); a currency framework very similar to blockchain based products like Bitcoin but directly controlled by central bankers. It’s a threat that some analysts including myself have been writing about for more than a decade, so it’s good to finally see the issue being addressed more in the mainstream.
The Orwellian nature of CBDCs cannot be overstated. In a cashless society most people would be dependent on digital products for exchanging goods and labor, and this would of course mean the end of all privacy in trade. Everything you buy or sell or work for in your life would be recorded, and this lack of anonymity could be used to stifle your freedoms in the future.
For example, say you like to eat steak regularly, but the increasingly authoritarian government decides to list red meat as a health risk and a “climate change risk” due to carbon emissions from cows. They determine by your purchase history (which they have full access to) that you have contributed more carbon pollution than most people by eating red meat often. They declare that you must pay a retroactive carbon tax on your past purchases of red meat. Not only that, but your insurance company sends you a letter indicating that you are a medical risk and they cut off your health coverage.
Products you consume and services you use can be tracked to create a psychological profile on you, which could then become a factor in determining your social credit score, just as CCP authorities do in China today. Maybe you refuse to purchase an annual mRNA booster shot, and the tracking algorithm makes a note of this. Now you are under suspicion for being “anti-vax” and your social credit score plummets, cutting you off from various public venues. Maybe you are even fired from your job.
In the worst case scenario, though, economic access is the greatest oppressive tool. With CBDCs in place and no physical cash in existence, your savings will never be truly yours and you’ll never be able to hold your purchasing power in your hands. The means of exchange would be bottle-necked by the banks, and governments would have the option to freeze your ability to transact. If one day you get angry about a particular government policy and openly call the system corrupt on social media, they can simply shut off your option to transfer your digital money to others until you submit, or die.
CBDCs give establishment officials the leverage to starve their political opponents with algorithmic precision. It would be a new world of technocratic oppression.
It’s important to understand that central bankers are moving at breakneck speed to develop and introduce digital currencies. It’s not a matter of experimentation, they already have these systems ready to implement. The Federal Reserve’s instant transfer program “FedNow” is set to debut this July, which is not a CBDC but it is an intermediary step towards instituting CBDCs in the near term.
In my investigations of various CBDC programs and how quickly they are progressing I came across an interesting program called “Project Icebreaker” being run by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). For those not aware, the BIS is a globalist institution with a clandestine past known as the “central bank of central banks.” It is the policy making hub for most of the central banks in the world. If you ever wondered how it was possible for so many national central banks to operate in tandem with each other instead of acting in the interests of the countries they reside in, the BIS is the answer. In other words, organizations like the Federal Reserve are not necessarily loyal to Americans or to American officials, they are loyal to the dictates of the BIS.
The BIS is at the forefront of the movement towards the adoption of CBDCs. They have been funding a vast array of projects to test and refine CBDC technology and as of this year they estimate that at least 81 central banks around the world are in the midst of introducing digital currency systems.
Project Icebreaker in particular grabbed my attention for a number of reasons. The BIS describes the project as a foreign exchange clearing house for Retail CBDCs (retail CBDCs are digital currencies used by the regular public and businesses), enabling the currencies to be traded from country to country quickly and efficiently. This is accomplished using the “Icebreaker Hub”, a BIS controlled mechanism which facilitates data transfers for an array of transactions while connecting banks to other banks.
Investigating further I realized that the Icebreaker Hub in theory functions almost exactly like the SWIFT payment system used currently by governments and international banks. More than 10,000 financial institutions in 212 different countries use the SWIFT network to transfer funds overseas for their clients; it is an incredible centralization bottleneck that gives its shareholders considerable power.
As a point of reference, after the start of the war between Ukraine and Russia, the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT network was used as a weapon in an attempt to crash the Russian economy. Russia has found ways around using SWIFT because of their trade relationships with major economies like China and India, but some damage has still been done to their financial structure.
Consider this, however – What if all monetary transactions were centralized through CBDCs and the BIS controlled the hub in which all retail CBDCs are exchanged globally? This is what Icebreaker is.
Now imagine that you operate a business that relies on overseas transactions; say you need to pay manufacturers in Vietnam or Taiwan to produce your products. With CBDCs in place you will most likely be completely dependent on a system similar to the Icebreaker Hub to move than digital money to Vietnamese banks and into the accounts of your manufacturers. Say officials at the BIS, for whatever reason, decide they don’t like you and they initiate Russian-style sanctions denying your access to the hub. Your business is now dead.
What if you had to meet certain standards in order to be allowed use of the hub, and the BIS dictates the standards? What if the BIS decides that your company needs to meet woke ESG related categories before you can get permission for Icebreaker transactions? Now the BIS has the ability to manipulate social and cultural trends using your business and millions of other businesses as forced messengers.
For the average consumer that does most of their transactions within their home country this might not sound like a big deal. But, for the business world, a SWIFT-like hub for retail CBDCs could be used to dominate all international trade. Running any kind of larger organization or company would mean bowing to the whims of the BIS.
It gets worse, though…
Part of the process of the “spoke and wheel” exchange method used by the Icebreaker Hub includes the exploitation of a “bridge currency” to fill gaps in exchange rates and liquidity. On the surface this seems like a clever way to speed up transactions by avoiding cross-currency shortages at banks. That said, I want readers to think about the long term path that this kind of “bridging” sets in motion in the realm of CBDCs.
Let’s say there is a global scale economic crisis event which causes many currencies to fluctuate wildly. Lets say, for example, that the US dollar loses its world reserve status and petro-status and this sends FX (foreign exchange) markets into a panic. Price inflation becomes rampant and banking institutions falter under liquidity pressures. Lets say that central bankers introduce CBDCs as a solution to the problem, and the BIS Icebreaker Hub as the intermediary for international trade. The populace is so frightened by the economic crash that they then embrace the digital framework. Now let’s say that the BIS claims they still can’t find a currency they consider stable enough to act as a means to bridge most global transactions. What happens then?
Well, “luckily” for all of us the BIS and IMF have been working on their own GLOBAL CBDC. In the case of the IMF, this one-world currency would be based around the Special Drawing Rights basket system they have been using for decades to broker currency transfers between national governments. The BIS then uses this one world currency product as the bridge for Ice Breaker going forward.
Eventually the BIS, IMF and various central banks will ask the public the inevitable question: “Why are we bothering with these national currency exchanges when we have a perfectly good bridge currency in the form of this one-world CBDC? Why don’t we just get rid of all these superfluous national CBDCs and have one currency for everyone?”
Thus, total global financial centralization would be achieved. And once you have a one-world currency, a completely centralized and micro-managed global economy and the most vital trade systems in the world controlled by a tiny handful of faceless unelected bureaucracies, why then have nations at all? Global government would be the next and final step.
I can see the nightmare play out when I look at projects like Icebreaker. They are seemingly innocuous, but they act as the DNA by which economic tyranny is given birth.