Ecb Digital Euro Report could strip financial freedom what do I mean by that?
Europeans could soon lose their financial freedom, as the European Central Bank (ECB) has been rushing to roll out its digital Euro, which could be approved as soon as this year. The ECB recently published its third progress report on the digital Euro’s development and revealed more concerning features. This dystopian currency will have today. Let’s give a bit of background about the digital Euro, unpack its latest progress report, and reveal why the ECB and other central banks are rushing to roll out CBDCs before it’s too late. The ECB first began investigating a digital Euro in October 2020. ECB Announces Digital Euro Will Not Be Programmable, Ensuring Privacy for Users. In the first progress report, the central bank claimed that privacy would not be possible, and the digital Euro may be programmable, meaning you would have no control over your money. In the second progress report, however, the ECB pivoted. It said that it would only oversee the issuance and redemption of digital euros, and the commercial banking sector would handle the rest. Notably, it claimed that the ECB itself would not be able to see transactions. Only the commercial banks would. The second progress report also noted that the third progress report would focus on two things: programmability (control of payments) and user adoption. As you’ll see, the third progress report doesn’t focus on programmability. In fact, it claims that the digital Euro will never be programmable.
- 1 ECB’s Programmability Pivot Raises Concerns About Digital Euro’s Control
- 2 ECB to Propose Regulation for Digital Euro in Q2 2023 with Final Design Features Discussed with Stakeholders
- 3 Digital Euro Could Compete with US Dollar and Become Sole Tab in Bank Accounts, According to Report.
- 3.1 EU Mandates Businesses to Accept Digital Euro
- 3.2 Digital Euro’s Advanced Functionalities and Optional Services Raise Programmability Speculation
- 3.3 ECB Plans Final Design for Digital Euro Rollout, but Initial Distribution Remains Unclear
- 3.4 ECB and Central Banks Fear Loss of Control Over National Currencies with CBDCs
- 3.5 Euro Stable Coins Could Replace Digital Euro, Allowing ECB to Track and Control Every Transaction.
ECB’s Programmability Pivot Raises Concerns About Digital Euro’s Control
The ECB’s programmability pivot appears to have come shortly after the second progress report was published last December. “That’s because, just one month later, ECB officials started making public statements insisting that the digital Euro will never be programmable. Now, I can’t say I believed them around that time. EU finance ministers also issued a statement about the digital Euro, claiming that it would not replace cash. This is also hard to believe because the ECB’s earlier works about the digital Euro implied that it would not only replace cash but also store value like gold. Regardless, the ECB seemed to have calmed concerns about the digital Euro until April when ECB President Christine Lagarde made some shocking admissions about the CBDC in a video prank call. The presumably Russian pranksters were reportedly posing as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zielinski. Christine admitted to the pranksters that digital Euro transactions would be controlled by the ECB.
ECB Considers Programmable Features and No Controls on Small Digital Euro Payments, Reveals Christine Lagarde
She also revealed that the ECB was considering having no controls on small digital Euro payments, but she believes this is dangerous. This suggests that the digital Euro will have. She claimed that the ECB doesn’t have the capacity to implement programmable payments, and it’s going to be quote impossible for them to see individual digital Euro transactions.
“Fabio revealed that a digital Euro may not be launched at all but cautioned that there are situations where the issuance of a digital Euro would become necessary. I’ll also come back to that later. Now, it’s clear that these concerns were not adequately addressed because a few days later, the ECB sent out yet another spokesperson to make a series of further statements. This time, they claimed that the ECB has no interest in tracking individual transactions, and yet Fabio had admitted just a few days previously that it did. This brings me to the ECB’s third progress report on the digital Euro, which was published late last month. The report begins with a brief background of the digital Euro’s development, which is, of course, not nearly as spicy, or informative as the one I just gave you.
ECB to Propose Regulation for Digital Euro in Q2 2023 with Final Design Features Discussed with Stakeholders
The intro also provides a roadmap, “In the second quarter of 2023, the EU intends to propose a regulation to establish a digital Euro. The ECB will accommodate any necessary adjustments to the design of the digital Euro that may emerge from legislative deliberations. Now, in that prank call, Christine specified that the date would be the 23rd of October. The full roadmap for the digital Euro rollout can be seen here. Note that it’s subject to change over the next few months. The ECB will be publishing a final proposal for the design of the digital Euro. The authors (of the European roadmap) imply that the final design is close to being finished and will include the features discussed in this report. These features fall into three categories, which make up the three sections of this report: one digital Euro access Holdings and onboarding, two distribution aspects, and three digital Euro services and functionalities. The authors note that the ECB has discussed these features with so-called stakeholders. For context, stakeholders are…”Stakeholders” is a term associated with the World Economic Forum (WEF), and it tends to include governments, corporations, and rich individuals, for what it’s worth. The authors also say that they have been consulting with “society at large,” and their recent change in tone does reflect that. The authors also stressed that the approval of this third set of design options does not pre-judge any decision on whether to move to the next project phase scheduled for Autumn 2023, nor the ultimate decision on whether to issue a digital Euro. But let’s be realistic. They are going to issue it in any case. Hopefully, you’ll recall that the first section of the report is about Digital Euro Access Holdings and Onboarding. Naturally, the authors start by saying that the Digital Euro’s initial focus will be on individuals and institutions inside the EU. They note that EU residents living abroad will also have access.
Digital Euro Could Compete with US Dollar and Become Sole Tab in Bank Accounts, According to Report.
What’s interesting is that the authors go on to specify that the Digital Euro could also be used in “selected third countries.” This begs the question of whether the EU intends to export its Digital Euro and even try to compete with the US dollar. The answer could be yes, but again, I’ll come back to that later. Now, the report’s authors go on to reveal that the onboarding process for a Digital Euro will be no different from opening a regular bank account, confirming my prediction that it will initially be just another tab in your bank account. What they don’t tell you is that it will eventually be the only tab in your bank account. Conspiracy theories aside, the authors also reveal that while individual accounts will have limits on their Digital Euro holdings, institutional accounts will not.
The authors also discuss the waterfall functionality, which involves automatically converting Digital Euros to regular Euros. If you go over the holding limit, this arguably falls under the definition of programmability. However, if you have been keeping up with our coverage of CBDCs, you will know that central banks like to bend definitions to calm the plebs. Never forget that privacy means not sharing data with private companies. Governments can still see everything now to ensure that individuals do not try to skirt the digital Euro limit. By opening multiple bank accounts, you will only have one digital Euro account that will be shared across all your bank accounts. This rule will be enforced using a digital Euro account identifier, presumably the EU’s digital ID. This ties into the second section of the report, which is about the digital Euro’s distribution aspects.
EU Mandates Businesses to Accept Digital Euro
The authors start by discussing the so-called digital Euro scheme, which they introduced in the previous progress report. In short, it mandates all businesses to accept the digital Euro as a payment option. It also mandates businesses to have the ability to pay their employees using digital Euros. But do not worry, I am sure that the EU will never force businesses to pay their employees in this way. Did you hear about those civil servants in China getting their paychecks in digital Yuan? Probably nothing now. Another interesting thing is that the authors say that digital Euro payments will be possible through existing mobile banking apps or through a mobile app issued by the ECB. Even so, the authors promise that commercial banks will still process the payments with the ECB’s app. Not only that, but the authors seem to suggest that any regulated payment intermediary should be allowed to support the digital Euro. This makes sense, considering that the ECB is obsessed with ensuring that the digital euro is adopted. Note that existing CBDCs suggest that voluntary adoption is very low. As expected, the authors are obsessed with QR code payments and envision a world where most digital Euro payments are made using QR codes. This is scary when you consider that allowing camera access to a digital ID wallet or other government-issued app opens the door to unprecedented surveillance. What’s even scarier is that the previous progress report suggested that specialized hardware could be mandated for all physical devices for offline peer-to-peer payments. This could likewise result in unprecedented surveillance, but at least all those microchips will be made in the EU.
Digital Euro’s Advanced Functionalities and Optional Services Raise Programmability Speculation
Right now, until this QR code utopia is achieved, however, the authors note that it will still be possible to make digital payments by tapping your phone and are even considering issuing a physical digital Euro card. This is likely required under the digital Euro scheme, as it includes provisions for those without smartphones. This relates to the third part of the report, which is about the digital Euro’s services and functionalities. The authors start by saying that intermediaries could build on the digital Euro’s advanced functionalities to provide new services. I wonder if these services will involve any programmability speculation aside. The authors provide a list of optional services that these intermediaries could offer. This list includes recurring payments and triggering payments from another account when certain conditions are met. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure both services involve programmability. Authors argue that the digital Euro will not be programmable money, leaving intermediaries to impose this kind of programmability. As far as the authors are concerned, however, these optional services are “conditional payments,” which should not be mistaken for programmable money. This is where the authors proclaim that the digital Euro will never be programmable in any way. Funny definitions they have. Speaking of which, the authors provide a definition of programmable money: “Programmable money would entail units of digital Euro being used only to buy specific types of goods and/or services or to buy them only within a certain period.” Slash geography, make no mistake; this is what all CBDCs will do in the case of the digital Euro. It looks like it will be up to the intermediaries to impose this kind of programmability. At the very least, there’s nothing stopping the EU from mandating them to do so. Now, I’m sure the ECB will just shrug its shoulders and say, “Don’t look at us. We didn’t program anything.” Don’t take my word for it, though.
ECB Plans Final Design for Digital Euro Rollout, but Initial Distribution Remains Unclear
Now, the final part of the report is about the next steps the ECB will take in its digital Euro rollout. As I mentioned earlier, the ECB will be publishing a finalized design later in the spring. This design will be discussed with stakeholders, and it seems that society at large will not be a part of it. The authors admit that there is no set timeline for when the digital Euro will be launched, assuming it is approved. Our previous research suggests that it could come as soon as 2025, but there are a few prerequisites that need to be met first, such as a digital ID and some kind of crisis to force its adoption. Case in point, the authors also admit that they are wondering how they will do the initial distribution of the digital Euro. Logically, the easiest way would be to find an excuse to issue more stimulus payments. Note that the pandemic stimulus payments are what kick-started the Fool’s Gold Rush, CBDCs.
ECB’s Digital Euro Design Process Lacks User Consultation, Stakeholder Meetings Planned. The authors again repeat that the ECB will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that the digital Euro meets the needs of users without consulting the users. Of course, the authors also specify that the final design will need to be approved by the ECB and its stakeholders before being voted on by the EU. Now, to their credit, the ECB did take the time to consult with the average European as part of that statement in mid-January. The statement contained a PowerPoint presentation that had some interesting stuff, including a more detailed roadmap about the digital Euro rollout. As you can see, it looks like there will be more stakeholder meetings this month and again in July, depending on the feedback from the stakeholders. We could see the ECB make more adjustments to its digital Euro design. The feedback the ECB has received so far suggests that the stakeholders are not too keen. The same is reflected in a study mentioned in the PowerPoint presentation, which found that digital payments in the EU are not nearly as popular as advertised, and an overwhelming majority of Europeans believe that having access to cash is important. Oddly enough, Austrians and Germans were the most adamant about having the ability to pay in cash. What’s not so odd is that the Cypriots came in third. This is not surprising because once upon a time in Cyprus, the banks were closed, and nobody had access to their money for weeks. Cash was truly king. You can learn more about what happened to Cyprus and the First Bank balins using the link in the description. So now for the big question: why are the central banks, especially the ECB, rushing to roll out CBDCs?
ECB and Central Banks Fear Loss of Control Over National Currencies with CBDCs
Well, the answer can be found in the prank call that fooled Christine. “We don’t want to be dependent on an unfriendly country’s currency,” she said. “It could be any country.” That quote. “We also don’t want to be dependent on a friendly currency that comes from a private entity.” This is a not-so-subtle reference to Facebook’s failed digital currency Libra and USD-denominated stablecoins like USDC, which were effectively banned by the EU’s recent regulations. Now, if you’re wondering what being dependent on a currency means, Christine laid it out in that prank call: “We don’t want any foreign currency to become the trading currency in Europe.” And that is why the ECB and most other central banks are rushing to roll out their CBDCs. Put simply, they are terrified of losing control over their national currencies. Put differently, they’re terrified of the US dollar becoming their de facto national currency. “What’s terrifying is that the only real defense they have here is to prevent their citizens from purchasing foreign currencies altogether. This is something central banks like the ECB are hyper-aware of, but at the same time, it’s something they can’t do. They know that the moment they impose controls on their currencies, nobody will adopt them. This is almost certainly why the ECB has been toeing the line when it comes to privacy and programmability, but as we’ve seen, the ECB is still interested in tracking and controlling every transaction made with the digital Euro. It now faces the difficult task of convincing Europeans to adopt a dystopian technology they don’t want, don’t need, and didn’t vote for. I don’t think the ECB will succeed, but it has a plan B. The plan B in question is Euro stablecoins, which have been popping up left and right.
Euro Stable Coins Could Replace Digital Euro, Allowing ECB to Track and Control Every Transaction.
Recently, Euro-stable coins are a viable alternative, given that they allow the ECB to track and control every transaction. They also allow the EU to subsidize itself. All Euro stablecoins are backed by EU government debt. This is badly needed, considering that some European governments are deeply underwater. If the ECB can find some way to make Euro-stable coins attractive to hold or use, they could ensure the Euro survives while keeping heavily indebted Southern European countries afloat. Given these facts, I think there’s a good chance that the ECB will ditch its digital Euro desires and stick to Euro-stable coins. The central bank’s sudden change in stance is evidence of a departure from the idea altogether. You can bet that stablecoin issuers, like Circle, will be lobbying hard for this outcome.
I’m not a financial advisor
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