War on Cash Meets War on Crypto

Regulations guiding the fiscal agenda are making life impossible as the government wages war on cash and crypto.

January 31, 2022

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

war on cash war on crypto It really looks like you can’t win anymore, doesn’t it? I get the general inter-generational rift between Millennials and Boomers, though. I’m squarely in the forgotten generation of GenX, and I’m watching the others duke it out, but I see both sides.

Boomers came up when the rules were less, and life was in many ways simpler. Life was hard, but the solutions were simple because the rules of the game were pretty simple.

It’s not that they didn’t understand financial hardship. They came from depression era parents and lived through Carter’s “malaise”. They know what struggle is.

It’s not that they didn’t have to figure out how to make ends meet. Sure they did. Every generation did. But again, the rules were pretty simple. That was in large part because the regulations weren’t as abundant and the technology was simply not available.

As a digital business owner, I have no problem saying that technology has been both a blessing and a curse. It clearly enables me and many like me to work remotely and get the kind of flexibility my grandparents could never have imagined.

It also pushed us all in the direction of surveillance and monitoring and control my grandparents wouldn’t approve of.

Economist, Antony Davies did an amazing take on how times have changed, and I invite you to check it out because it puts a lot of things into perspective. But one thing he points out is life can be more expensive today simply because of what we rely on.

We rely on having internet. No one in the 70s or 80s would even understand what that means. We rely on having a smart phone with its own data plan. Also a totally foreign concept. We have central air and heating… some homes had that, many still didn’t.

One TV versus a TV in every room… two cars rather than one… Owning a laptop and replacing it every several years.

These were not expenses that existed back then. So you can’t have the life they had if you aren’t willing to give up the life you have now.

With simpler lives and simpler rules, it stands to reason their advice sounds a lot like: follow the rules and you’ll do fine. That’s what most people heard growing up in my generation.

What were the rules?

  • Do well in school (no need for straight A’s but a nice B average meant you’d get a decent job). Generally speaking, if you pulled off a B average you were literate and could do basic math.

  • Stick to a good work ethic. Show up on time, take pride in your work, see how you can learn more and get ahead or move up.

  • Go to college. Get an advanced degree and you become more likely to be hired.

  • Live below your means. Budget your time and money and save up.

  • Don’t break the law.

The first two still apply but you can see where things start to unravel as you get to the bottom three, right?

Go to college? All degrees are not created equally. Unless you really need it for where you are going and that’s what your research tells you, there’s less of a need for that these days. College is a dying trend. Trade schools and online tutorials will do the same thing.

Live below your means is great advice, don’t get me wrong. But with rising inflation that advice is incomplete. Live below your means… by pooling your resources and getting multiple streams of income.

Well that’s just impossible! I’m being serious! That’s not because we’re all just a bunch of miscreants. That’s because we’re all just living our lives and manage to commit three felonies a day on average unwittingly.

Combine that with all the surveillance and digital tracking and I’m surprised there isn’t a lottery for who gets the next visit from the Fed Bois.

So yes, Boomers can be out of touch. But it can also be true that Millennials and Gen Z are making very stupid and expensive choices. And it can also be that the direction of regulations and government controls make it so hardly anyone can figure out what to do!

The latest in multi-generational conundrums brought to you by the state is found in these two headlines:

Biden Admin to Regulate Bitcoin as a “Matter of National Security”

and “War on Cash: The Digital Dollar”

So you don’t want me to use cash, but me using crypto is a threat to national security?

Well, it all comes down to safety doesn’t it? Of course it does. So during 2020, if you recall, the big “coin shortage” suddenly presented itself. Something about social distancing, reducing staff and production, and touching money is dangerous during a pandemic. The reason behind it to this day is a hologram.

But fast-forward to 2022, and we’re still being told “not so fast”. The “shortage” persists! Not really. It’s more of an imbalance of distribution because it’s not circulating as quickly through the broader market.

Which makes sense. Coins won’t circulate as quickly if there are several forms of payment people can use. But that didn’t stop the powers that be from parlaying that into some headline fear.

An airborne disease somehow can travel all over money! And we’re all going to die if we use cash! That was just the boost the agenda needed. And it is indeed an agenda. This was rolled out by the IMF in 2017:

“The de-cashing process could build on the initial and largely uncontested steps, such as the phasing out of large denomination bills, the placement of ceilings on cash transactions, and the reporting of cash moves across the borders. Further steps could include creating economic incentives to reduce the use of cash in transactions, simplifying the opening and use of transferable deposits, and further computerizing the financial system.”

What really gets me is how China keeps coming up as a paragon of cashlessness. Any sane person would regard a Chinese example as a HUGE red flag (pun absolutely and always intended). Why don’t we break down the ingredients of this cashless stew:

  • Digitized fiat currency only. No more cash.

  • Monitoring of financial goings of every single individual.

  • Social credit score.

Yeah, that can only end in tears, folks. Here’s where things are heading:

The PBOC has also indicated that it could put limits on the sizes of some transactions, or even require an appointment to make large ones. Some observers wonder whether payments could be linked to the emerging social-credit system, wherein citizens with exemplary behavior are ‘whitelisted’ for privileges, while those with criminal and other infractions find themselves left out. ‘China’s goal is not to make payments more convenient but to replace cash, so it can keep closer tabs on people than it already does,’ argues Aaron Brown, a crypto investor who writes for Bloomberg Opinion.

So people turn to crypto because that canary is loud as hell echoing throughout the coal mine. Which was great, and still is, except for the fact that Biden has a little bit of a tingly feeling for cracking down on it.

How does Biden affect any of my readers NOT in the US? I would refer you to FACTCA. The US has a way of making policies that can mess with the whole world, in case you haven’t noticed yet.

“This is designed to look holistically at digital assets and develop a set of policies that give coherency to what the government is trying to do in this space,” a person familiar with the White House’s plan told Barron’s.

Because digital assets don’t stay in one country, it’s necessary to work with other countries on synchronization.”

That last part gives me night terrors.

I’ve written about regulations for crypto before. And each time the weak links could be clearly isolated:

  • Governments’ natural propensity to be a clown show on matters that are beyond their understanding. (Seriously, there was a time when I heard the theme to Benny Hill at the mere mention of crypto regulation.)

  • Governments’ other propensity to be about a decade behind on everything from technology to cultural tides.

But it sounds like Biden’s administration at least is trying to corral the cats, so to speak. And they are looking for international help. And, they are looping in some of the most shady agencies to do it.

The regulatory efforts would reportedly involve the State Department, Treasury Department, National Economic Council, and Council of Economic Advisers, as well as the White House National Security Council as the administration gauges that cryptocurrencies have “economic implications for national security,” per the Barron’s report.

Bottom line: you’re not meant to get ahead. You’re not meant to win at anything. Or as it was said at the World Economic Forum: “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing. I have no privacy. And life has never been better.”

That’s what they want. The rules are being made by that stupid kid who changed the rules whenever they realized they weren’t winning on the playground.

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