- Edward Snowden thinks CBDCs are intended to take away privacy and financial supremacy of individuals.
- CBDCs are however gaining popularity among countries as over 110 countries plan on releasing theirs.
- Market sentiment on CBDCs is highly bearish as they raise concerns for cryptocurrency proponents.
Edward Snowden, a popular whistleblower, has given his two cents on what he thinks Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are and would mean for individuals globally, calling them a “perversion” of cryptocurrencies and their fundamental principles.
According to him, CBDCs are a “cryptofascist currency” disingenuously designed by the government to take away private ownership of money. He argues around this premise at length in an article he wrote titled “Your Money and Your Life: Central Banks Digital Currencies will ransom our future.”
In the article, he goes over the history of money and how economies came to arrive at the financial instruments currently in use. He argues that policies have consistently reduced the power of money by changing from using scarce assets to using fiat currency. For Snowden, the transition to CBDCs that is being proposed will remove all forms of restraint that governments currently face by giving unrestricted and unparalleled control over every kind of financial transaction in their jurisdictions.
Notably, Snowden came to popularity when his whistleblowing prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy. He leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 that blew the lid off of numerous global surveillance programs run by the organization and when he was an employee and subcontractor for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Snowden’s concerns over CBDCs are largely prompted by the ever-increasing popularity of financial instruments. He has also recently defined CBDCs as being a tool of oppression.
“What is a Central Bank Digital Currency, you ask? Oh, you know: just a “useful policy tool” for casually annihilating the savings of every wage-worker in the country if they don’t spend them fast enough,” he said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the IMF recently revealed that as many as 110 countries were seriously considering CBDCs and were at different stages of implementing their digital currency. The innovation also has the blessing of the global body despite their reservations about cryptocurrencies. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva described CBDCs as a technology that has given people the tools with which to make “seamless and less costly” transactions.
In the cryptocurrency space as well, CBDCs have gained some traction. Ripple has announced that it will collaborate with Bhutan to implement the release of the country’s CBDC solution.
While China has had the longest period of testing out CBDCs, Nigeria has come the closest to launching a CBDC. Nigeria had plans to launch the e-Naira on October 1 but had to postpone. In recent reports, the country’s central bank revealed that the launch was “a few days away.”
However, sentiments towards CBDCs are mixed and largely negative from crypto proponents. Crypto-proponents are wary of the fact that countries seriously considering CBDC, including China, are keen on displacing cryptocurrencies with restrictive policies as they fear competition from permissionless assets.