Probably one of the most important developments in cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and economic policy as a whole just occurred on May 28, 2020 with the publication (by the Digital Dollar Foundation, the thinktank tasked with creating the Digital Dollar technological framework) of the United States' controversial CBDC that was first realistically discussed in one of the COVID-19 draft relief bills that failed to pass Congress. However, the digital dollar portion has made its way into several more Covid-19 measures and is actively being pursued.
None of us were really sure what the digital dollar would look like, but the publishing of the working version of the Digital Dollar whitepaper on May 28, 2020 gives us more of a look into what we can expect.
The company that published the whitepaper, a thinktank known as The Digital Dollar Project was founded by former leaders of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and professional services company Accenture. Among the individual founders is Daniel Gorfine, the head of CFTC’s fintech office until this past fall.
Cointelegraph broke the story published an excellent report on this exact topic
This will be a very short piece as far as my writing is concerned, as the main point here is to provide you all with the full version of the white paper, which you can find by following this link:
However, I do want to highlight some of the parts that are interesting, including this idea for a use case:
DIGITAL DOLLAR FOR CRISIS RELIEF
As this paper is being published, the United States, along with the rest of the world, has been struck with and partially immobilized by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Washington, DC has formulated its emergency relief policy response in the face of the current crisis, it has set upon issuance of direct payments to individuals to offset lost wage income. This initiative has revealed persistent deficiencies and shortcomings in the effective distribution of monies, as an estimated 70 million Americans will need to wait a month or more to receive their direct payments via paper check as the legacy
infrastructure systems do not provide a more direct means of payment.
A. We see yet another example with the sudden need for retired COBOL programmers to support legacy computer systems underpinning state unemployment benefit programs.
B. The pandemic-induced crisis should be a call to action to renovate these longneglected yet critical payment and financial infrastructure that are becoming increasingly outdated.
C. A CBDC could dovetail nicely with other projects seeking to replace legacy technology infrastructures, such as cloud computing, digital identity, and automation.
Some proposals have been made for “digital dollar” electronic cash payment infrastructures to distribute electronic payments directly to consumers.
These proposals to date appear to consider “digital dollars” in terms of benefits distribution functionality through accounts-based systems and not as a form of tokenized CBDC.
A couple things are for certain.
- The Digital Dollar will not be a cryptocurrency as we know it. It will obviously meet the definition in terms of technology used, as it will be no-doubt be based on high encryption standards and algorithms. However, everything else will be different, from the inherent and very tight centralization that will be a nascent part of the dollar's journey from analog to fiat.
- It will enable mass surveillance of those who use the Digital Dollar in conjunction with other financial and linkable accounts, such as bank accounts, transit card accounts, toll booth accouts, doctor's visits, and more. This is done through the concept of linkability, where if enough data points are created, the surveilling party can literally map out the movements of the person under surveillance. Linkability was discussed famously by Jacob Appelbaum of the Occupy Wall Street in CitizenFour, the Laura Poitras documentary detailing the Edward Snowden disclosures.
- Also, it will not be subject to mass variations in volatility that is native to Bitcoin and many alts. Instead, it will be a stablecoin pegged 1:1 to the US dollar.
Now, if you start reading the Digital Dollar Project (DDP) website, you will read statements that seem to indicate that the project is pushing for a decentralized digital dollar, or at least some form of decentralization. However, they also make the claim that the Federal Reserve is not "centralized" because it has many partner entities throughout the banking system. Using this definition of decentralization, perhaps they are correct. However, this is just a bit of wordplay, as I don't think there is anyone here that believes that the US Federal Reserve is a decentralized organization (hint: It is centralized AF). To me, for the DDP to attempt to call this highly centralized project a decentralized project in any way, shape, or form tends to put a cloud over the entire project, at least in my eyes.
What do you guys think?
It is also important to note that this whitepaper is the first "working paper" of the Digital Dollar Foundation. Specifically, the paper makes this clear in this quote:
“Through engagement with stakeholders, the public sector, and our advisory group, we intend to refine these use cases further and identify potential pilots to test the value hypotheses and inform design decisions.”
With that said, I encourage you all to make your feelings, whether they be in support of or in opposition of this upcoming new version of the US dollar.
This project and its whitepaper are likely to undergo some serious changes, some of which will be based on the input that the DDP receives from partner agencies and institutions, as well as governmental sources as well as those in business for themselves.
One more quote from the whitepaper that was also brought up by original article that announced the publication of the whitepaper is of concern to those of us who worry about privacy. The whitepaper similarly calls for any digital dollar to operate within existing Know Your Customer (KYC) or Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements, which are unique to US federal legislation. At the same time, both the white paper and the project’s founders have historically mentioned privacy as a central concern. That subject remains to be determined, based on the 4th amendment as well as future legislation. The DDP's statement made it clear that privacy is only a nominal concern for the Digital Dollar, even if they claim to have privacy as one of their top concerns. I honestly do not know how they can make such a statement when the product is being developed for the US federal government, literally the world's largest overreacher when it comes to violating privacy protections; but here is the statement anyway, made by DDP founder Gorfine:
“This is a very meaty and important area. Ultimately, these are policy choices that need to be made by the government,” Gorfine said of privacy. “I think what we flag in the paper is a champion [...] model by anchoring and analogizing to physical cash.”
That's all I have to say about this for now. I, for one, am not thrilled about the Digital Dollar. I think that it, along with newly implemented facial recogition software that will soon be ubiquitous and Orwellian "contact tracing" (known in prisons as "controlled movement"), will usher in a terrifying new era akin to something out of dystopian film.
I welcome your comments below and will respond and interact with every one of my readers!
So, if there's one thing that the new Digital Dollar CBDC has convinced me to do, it's to get as far from government fiat as humanly possible. I've been an ardent cryptouser for quite some time now, but now that this is on the horizon, I will be investing quite a bit of my fiat into more flexible and private stores of matter, like the industry-standard Ledger Nano hardware wallet
If you are new to crypto and are looking to get your feet wet, or if you have been around for a long time but want to put some crypto beer money in your wallet, take a look at some of the following. Yes, I get a referral bonus if you sign up for any of them through my referral link, but it will not cost you a dime and you get to support an awesome Publish0x author with your clickthrough:
So yeah, everyone....I went and joined Amazon Associates. Yeah, I know, I know; but....in the face of economic uncertainly, it's a good idea to be have all options available for making a living. If you enjoy my articles and want to donate to the cause but are short on extra funds, simply click through to Amazon through the Ledger link above and I will receive a small commission on anything you order from Amazon that day. You don't necessarily have to buy the Ledger Nano or anything else I've listed, you just have to get to the Amazon site through one of my product links, like the Ledger one above. However, if you do decide to get the Ledger, it's on of the best hardware wallets out there and is by-far the most easily recognized name in their field. Perfect for cold storage if you want to keep your crypto safe and are concerned about the safety of your exchange, web, or software wallet.
While you are stuck at home, try getting involved with as many passive income opportunities as possible. Of particular interest to me are some of the tried and true cryptofaucets that have been around for years and that pay out to the CoinPot microwallet. If you are new to crypto, these faucets are the "moon" faucets and you can choose when to make your claim. You are paid a small amount of crypto each time you make a claim -- it's not gonna make you rich, but it may keep you in beer money! The cool thing is that you get 25% referral bonus on each of your referrals faucet claims as well as daily increasing bonuses for visiting at least once per day.
4. Moon Bitcoin (You get 50% commission here instead of 25%) - http://moonbit.co.in/?ref=4f207d49c5aa
What's cool about these is that they all go into the same single CoinPot.co microwallet account, and they actually accumulate very fast. I've been using all of them for years to stack satoshi in the background. It's definitely worth it when you realize one day that you have enough to pay your electric bill.
If you find yourself low on fiat but have a decent bag of crypto, consider starting an account with a service like Nexo. They provide loans on collateral crypto so you can get the liquidity you need without selling your bag permanently. Nexo is a great service -- I actually set all of my faucet earnings from CoinPot to withdraw to my Nexo account, where I currently have around $200 USD in crypto value with a line of credit of $100. I've never used the line of credit, but it's nice to have, and it is backed by a HUGE $100 or 50 million dollar insurance bond, so you know your crypto is safe. You can use volatility to your favor here, too, to make your loan higher, lower, or to actually make profit off of it. It's completely free to join and participate, too. They do have their own token, and it pays 8% staking interest annualized.
What I do is send my Coinpot and other faucet accumulations to the Nexo BTC account, and in doing so, I have accumulated around $500 in crypto, which gives an anytime loan value of $250. The loan is secured by your crypto, but you retain ownership of it. It's a cool buffer/layer to add to a multi-faceted financial independence strategy.