by Ken Carabello
Most of the world is all too aware at the moment, of the technological showdown currently taking place between the United States and China. At the heart of this contest is blockchain technology. And the big cliff hanger is: Which of these two countries, the U.S. or China, will be the first to put a functional electronic dollar, or Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) into wide-range effect on blockchain?!
The United States was well on its way toward adopting blockchain standards and enacting a CBDC. The pieces were, and are still in place. All U.S. Administrators had to do was flip the proverbial switch, and the United States would have already been financially digitized. Yet instead of taking decisive action, United States governing bodies have been dragging their heels. And while this procrastination has been going on, China – at least for the time being, has taken the lead. China began using its version of a CBDC back in April of 2020, when it launched a pilot program in four provinces. Since that time, China has already been looking to expand the breadth of their CBDC launch.
The United States however, is a different story. Since it is a voting year, economic priorities seem to be taking a back seat to the politics surrounding the upcoming Election. And all we as United States citizens can do is hope that when officials do get around to making the transition over to a digital dollar, it won't be too late to close the gap on China's significant head start.
The enactment of a United States Central Bank Digital Currency should no longer be considered a mere possibility, nor even an eventuality. It should be looked upon by all as an immediate necessity at this point.
The US dollar is being hyper-inflated to worthlessness through quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve. Couple that with the recent steep decline in the demand for oil due to economic stagnation caused by the pandemic. And you arrive at the result where, no longer able to derive any auxiliary strength from being the currency to which oil is tied, the US Dollar is in serious trouble.
The race to get a CBDC disseminated on a viable blockchain network is not only about, “Who has the most powerful or prevalent coin, the US or China?!” It is equally about who has the dominant blockchain.
As pundits have been pointing out lately, China – with its extreme policies on “Social Credit”, poses a threat to the liberties of citizens worldwide, if it is able to usurp the top blockchain position. People watching the situation closely, fear that those social credit 'scoring' and 'penalty' measures, will begin making their way West. Since the combination of a global blockchain and a dominant eCurrency would give the Chinese government sweeping control over what people can and can't do or say.
China would have this power, since an electronic dollar that they control, over a blockchain that they also control, would give them the ability to turn people's money on and off at will. And this would apply to individuals, businesses, and banks alike.
With a Chinese Head of State who has recently declared himself “King for Life”, and done away with the election in that country, the possibility of this hypothetical scenario becoming a reality if China wins the race, is hardly remote. And to reiterate the immediate worry, China is already in the lead.
Still, to the United States' credit, there have been great strides made in recent months toward the release of our own Central Bank Digital Currency. And to anyone paying close attention, it has seemed as if an “Announcement” could happen any day. What follow are a few of the reasons why.
First, back in July, the Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks, announced that US Banks would be allowed to custody crypto for their customers. Second, Kraken Exchange was recently given authorization by US regulators to act as a bank. Third, there has been a recent announcement that all US bank accounts will have digital (crypto) wallets by January of 2021. And last but certainly not least, there is the Ripple Company who has led the charge in the cryptocurrency arena to shepherd the stray sheep on the US regulatory landscape toward greener pastures.
In addition, Ripple – with their uniquely capable cryptocurrency XRP, has shown time and time again that financial transfers over the RippleNet – using XRP as a settlement device, are frictionless and inexpensive. In fact, to cite a working example of how obvious the decision should be for the US to move to crypto, Ripple / XRP settlements now constitute 10% of the Mexican cross-border remittance market.
So we actually have large scale proof that cryptocurrency (and blockchain) as a solution for moving money, is fast, reliable and inexpensive. Also, to round things out, the US Government has recently indicated that the next round of stimulus payments would be digital.
Mind you, these are only some of the positive developments in the crypto field which have occurred lately. Yet taken together, they certainly coalesce to ring out a resounding “Go” for crypto! That being the case, many proponents of cryptocurrency – myself included, are asking, “What the heck is taking so long?!”
The answer can only be, that the power elite want to get a significant foothold in the crypto arena, in light of what they know is coming. And until they feel comfortable that their feet are firmly planted in the circle, you and I (the masses) simply have to wait.
However, with China already out in front, and companies like the afore mentioned Ripple recently threatening to pull up stakes and leave the United States if reasonable regulations don't come soon, perhaps the heat has now been turned up high enough on US regulators. And we may soon witness some decisive action in the days and weeks just ahead. Until that time, all I can say to the United States officials who are hesitant to make a move is, “Please hurry up!”
And to the XRP Army I say, “HODL on! Our time is at hand!”
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