This article was originally published by Rhoda Wilson at The Daily Exposé.
As central bank digital currency (“CBDC”) pilots proliferate, a myriad of elite-gilded and blockchain-powered digital payment networks are vying for their technologies and payment systems to be incorporated into the developing digital currency infrastructures of tomorrow.
In plain English, that means major players in the cryptocurrency world are playing key roles in the ongoing CBDC pilot projects, globally.
Their end game? A digital financial grid primed for abuse.
CBDCs are a programmable, central bank-issued digital version of a country’s fiat currency.
As the CBDC race heats up, major players in the crypto world are playing key roles in ongoing CBDC pilot projects globally. While many crypto players are interested in facilitating CBDCs, this article focuses on Ripple, Stellar, and Ethereum, all of which are blockchain-based platforms being utilized in multiple CBDC pilot projects.
While CBDC proponents tout them as fast, convenient, and ideal for cheaper international transactions, Unlimited Hangout has previously elaborated on CBDCs’ propensity to undermine anonymity, foster surveillance, and even, in terms of programmability, be used to enforce policies or otherwise be weaponized to manipulate or control peoples’ financial activities and behavior. If rolled out on a wider scale and introduced in tandem with other tools, like Digital IDs, Unlimited Hangout contributors have posited that CBDCs could “be used to monitor our whereabouts, limit our freedom of movement and control our access to money, goods, and services.”
As per the Atlantic Council’s CBDC tracker, 130 countries representing 98 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (“GDP”) are now exploring a CBDC. Juniper Research recently estimated that the global value of CBDCs will jump from around $100 million today to $213 billion by 2030.
These organizations’ collective facade of inclusivity and altruism obfuscates their true nature as elite-backed or otherwise compromised groups helping centralize, digitize, and even possibly program or otherwise weaponize money in ways unaccountable to traditional policymaking processes and the public, thus bringing them immense power while helping facilitate what could functionally amount to a financial digital control grid.
Key to the functioning of cryptocurrencies, blockchain is often described as a cornerstone for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an ongoing and controversial technological revolution popularised by elite-gilded groups like the World Economic Forum (“WEF”), Deloitte, and Ernst & Young, that seeks to blur the boundaries of the physical, digital and biological spheres.
Major crypto players depict their CBDC-related efforts as strides toward an often “borderless” paradigm characterized by financial inclusion, equity, sustainability, and modernity in an increasingly digital world. In reality, they are more interested in having a major stake in, or even control over, the money of tomorrow.
Ripple’s mission is to “build breakthrough crypto solutions for a world without economic borders,” according to its X/Twitter profile.
Developing a CBDC platform for central banks to use, Ripple is “in talks” with over a dozen governments for the purposes of CBDC development. Ripple is or has participated in CBDC pilots for Montenegro, Palau, Bhutan, and Colombia. It was also tapped to facilitate the National Bank of Georgia’s CBDC pilot.
According to its 2022 ‘Fintech for good’ report, Ripple’s donated about $170 million towards “philanthropy” since 2018, committing $100 million to “scaling carbon markets” and $25 million to “NGOs working to make global financial services more inclusive and equitable.” Indeed, Ripple describes its business model as eco-friendly and “on track to achieve carbon net zero by 2030 or sooner through reduced emissions, clean energy use, and large investments in innovative carbon removal projects.”
Ripple has previously collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on financial inclusion initiatives that are part and parcel of the political elite looking to influence or dominate the financial system:
- Ripple is a Sponsor member of the Gates Foundation-backed Mojaloop Foundation and built Mojaloop’s Interledger Protocol.
- The Ripple-supported Mojaloop participates in the Level One Project, a Gates Foundation initiative that “proposes a new low-cost payments system that supports inclusive, interoperable digital payments.”
- Ripple participates with players including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coil, Google, ModusBox, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Stellar is a public open-source decentralized blockchain network run by the non-profit Stellar Development Foundation. “Built with CBDCs in mind,” Stellar has created a guidebook for policymakers about CBDCs, as well as a whitepaper that explains how Stellar in particular is up to the task of CBDC facilitation.
Stellar has participated in CBDC pilots in Ukraine and Australia and is developing a Brazilian CBDC in collaboration with Mercado Bitcoin. The German bank Bankhaus von der Heydt, meanwhile, selected Stellar to help develop a prospective European stablecoin.
Read more: Ukraine’s Future Lies in the Great Reset
Last year, Stellar collaborated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) to provide humanitarian payments to those impacted by the war in Ukraine using Circle Internet Financials’ USD Coin (“USDC”), a prominent dollar-pegged stablecoin. Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that is pegged to a “stable” reserve asset like the US dollar or gold to limit price fluctuations
Ethereum is a prominent decentralized blockchain network known for its smart contracts. Also, a major contender for CBDC pilots, Ethereum has been used in CBDC pilots for Australia, Norway, Israel, and even MasterCard. Moreover, an Ethereum-based stablecoin pilot issued by the Palau Ministry of Finance and “fully backed by USD cash balances” is currently ongoing in Palau.
Positioning itself as an antithesis to the traditional financial system, which it describes as inaccessible and discriminatory, the Ethereum Foundation describes Ethereum as a “protocol for human coordination.”
According to Ethereum’s governance webpage, no one owns or controls the protocol and so it differs from Stellar and Ripple in that Ethereum itself isn’t advocating for a role in CBDCs or CBDC pilots. However, the Ethereum protocol has been compromised in significant ways, and as such many elite players promote it as a protocol fit for purpose in the larger CBDC project, or for other goals they may have in the financial space.
Crypto players’ Altruistic Exteriors Deserve Scrutiny
The crypto industry’s major investments and efforts under the guise of “financial inclusion” must be understood as an attempt to secure influence and/or control over the world’s financial infrastructure.
That crypto players like Ripple and Stellar use similar language to the political class while simultaneously pushing for increased stakes in the future financial system signals that they are not detractors from the elites’ goals for the financial system: instead, they are advancing their cause.
Crypto players’ elaborate marketing tactics and philanthropic efforts either show a false goodwill or benevolence that obfuscates their true interest in CBDCs or otherwise signal their alignment with the political class’ goals.
Indeed, Stellar, Ethereum, and Ripple’s elite connections, including the WEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others, are extensive.
Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen, for starters, is a WEF agenda contributor and prominent Ripple leaders have made Davos appearances. A now-deleted 2016 article from Ripple, ‘The Road to Davos: Ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, explicitly discusses Ripple’s prospective role in developing a “global standard for payments” as part of the larger Fourth Industrial Revolution
Stellar CEO Denelle Dixon is a WEF Agenda Contributor and the Stellar Development Foundation is a supporter of the WEF’s Humanitarian and Resilience Investing (“HRI”) Initiative.
Ethereum Foundation Executive Director Aya Miguchi, also a WEF Agenda Contributor, is on the Davos-launched and elite-gilded Global Blockchain Council, which has collaborated with the WEF in the past on issues including crypto-asset regulations.
JP Morgan’s JPM coin, a digital dollar created by the bank, notably runs on a private version of the Ethereum blockchain, and the bank also owns a large stake in critical Ethereum infrastructure. Blackrock’s recent filing to launch an Ethereum-backed Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), only shows that the world’s most powerful players are moving to use the Ethereum protocol for their ends.
Intelligence ties to and interest in cryptocurrencies also deserve scrutiny.
Ultimately, by simultaneously driving CBDCs and adjacent projects forward, crypto players like Ripple, Stellar, and Ethereum demonstrate they (or those who have influence over them) care little about financial inclusion, privacy, or freedom. Rather, their goal is to have a stake in, or even control over, the future global financial system.
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