What 100 million “unbanked” Nigerians can teach Canadians about Central Bank Digital Currency
By Gleb Lisikh
Despite credit cards, e-transfers and online banking having already made money go pretty much digital, the Bank of Canada is busily working on a much bigger transformation. Canada is one of about 100 countries that – in uncanny synchronicity – several years ago joined the race toward retail central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Touted as the digital equivalent of cash, CBDC risks eroding the established banking system and, among many other problems, is likely to be vulnerable to hackers’ attacks which, should a foreign government use this as a tactic in “hybrid” warfare, might prove capable of destabilizing a target country’s economy.
Considering such acute risks, it would be reasonable to expect that the explosion of worldwide interest in CBDC is justified by its special qualities that address obvious pressing needs of the citizenry. The purported consumer and other needs for CBDC, however, seem to be entirely fabricated, while the qualities that actually differentiate CBDC from the money we use now are hushed and obscured by virtue-signalling.
CBDC’s main advertised feature is equivalency to cash. It is everywhere marketed as a means to advance “financial inclusion” – a convenient way for the “unbanked” to access financial services – both a stand-in and replacement for cash, which it is claimed is about to disappear from use.
The Bank of Canada admits, however, that CBDC cannot actually replace cash or make an “unbanked” person “banked.” That’s because CBDC does nothing to address the two key reasons people still use cash: the need for privacy and independence from technology. CBDC does the opposite. First, CBDC has a built-in lack of privacy as it’s designed to always leave a digital trail. Second, it requires the use of an internet-connected device – meaning it is not only technology-dependent but interruptible.