TALES FROM THE CRYPTO KEEPERS
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
When I started Ground Zero back in 1995, many people don’t know the radio station that gave me the opportunity to do it was a hot talk station in Salt Lake City. Hot Talk formats in radio were very experimental and pioneers in the field of Hot Talk were hosts like Tom Leykis, Scott Ferrall. Hot Talk radio was less political and more entertainment oriented and so we would have crazy topics and we would do stunts on the air – much like what Howard Stern does on his show.
One day we were told that a tattoo artist was coming into the studio of the afternoon guy and a memo was sent out saying that the artist wanted to be a sponsor and he needed talk show hosts to endorse his art; there was only one catch, if you wanted to endorse his tattoo shop he would have to give you a tattoo.
I thought I needed the extra endorsement money and consented to getting a tattoo on the air. I spent a week thinking about what I was going to get on my arm. I thought an alien, no maybe a flying saucer, or a sword – I even thought maybe a symbol of the Klingon empire, a KISS logo, and then I thought that it had to be something unique – something futuristic – something enduring.
Then it came to me – I want a UPC code tattooed on my left arm. Now mind you it would have to be a UPC code of something that would be hilarious or ironic. Well, the day arrived and I just couldn’t find a UPC code that would be unique or funny enough for my arm.
I looked everywhere and believe it or not I found something that I thought at the time was ironic and funny. It was a UPC code for a 12 oz can of Spam. I found it in the radio station’s refrigerator and brought it to the tattoo artist and said this is my tattoo.
He asked why I though a UPC code for a can of Spam is funny – and I said “Well if we all live in a tracked cashless society in the future, I can already say that I have my unique ID Tattooed on my arm, and when they scan it they will find that I am nothing more than a can of mystery meat.
The artist laughed.
For a while I would actually tease cashiers at the store to scan my arm and sure enough it would ring up on the register. When my wife and I first met she surprised me one day by saying that she got a small UPC code tattooed on her belly. It was the UPC code for Spam light.
The reason I am sharing this personal anecdote is because I read a very interesting article about crypto currency and the cashless society.
The article first began by saying that China has gone virtually cashless and that in Las Vegas there are strippers that buy temporary QR code tattoos so that the customers no longer have to throw dollar bills at them –all they have to do is use their cell phone and scan a payment to the QR code.
QR codes are similar to UPC codes; however, they have a more complex matrix look to them. A QR code uses standardized encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, and byte/binary, to efficiently store data; extensions may also be used using black squares arranged in a square grid. They were originally used as cataloguing markers for automakers in Japan.
When I read this I thought about my Spam bar code I got more than 20 years ago.
In China, QR codes are used for almost every money transaction you can think of.
Even beggars who stand on the street have their own QR code on their card board sign, while others have on their placards “I Recommend using WeChat Pay.
I guess you can literally call this a sign of the times.
Payment via mobile-phone services such as WeChat is sweeping the country. After advancing as a means to buy things online, mobile payments moved on to store purchases and are fast becoming the way many people in China pay for just about everything.
That includes small personal debts as well.
Though the U.S. saw $112 billion of mobile payments in 2016, by a Forrester Research estimate, such payments in China totaled $9 trillion, according to iResearch Consulting Group, a Chinese firm.
Just yesterday when I was at the store, girl scouts had set up their cookie display. As I walked out of the store, a girl asked if I wanted to purchase cookies. I told her no, that I was on a diet. The girl then said, well you can buy them for someone who isn’t. I said well I do not have any cash. She then said well, I have a square, which is a payment device attached to a cell phone or if you have a pay app you can scan here and there it was, that square with several mesmerizing squares in it – the QR code.
I said no again and walked out a feeling a little guilty. Even when I walk down the street downtown, I can always tell street beggars that I have no cash – just a card – and they back off. Now, it won’t be long and there will be a street beggar carrying a QR code that will send money to a bank account somewhere.
Whether anecdotally or based on solid data, I think most of us have a sense that the use of cash for payment is in decline. One study from last year suggests that cash is the preferred payment method of just 11 percent of U.S. consumers, with 75 percent preferring cards.
The truth about the coming cashless society is that big data is propelling us towards a world where an individual’s purchasing power is determined by his or her demographics and online behavior.
Imagine that the entirety of your personal data, not your money, will authoritatively determine what you can and cannot possess in the present and future. It’s like a Philip Dick science fiction story where factories intuitively deliver goods and services to your home without the need for you to actually click through an online order.
For many people, particularly in urban environments, there is simply no incentive to visit the automated teller machine when taxi rides, coffee, pizza delivery and even snacks from food trucks can be paid for online or with plastic.
That is bad news for any worker not participating in the digital economy.
Cash is under attack in the United States, and elsewhere around the world. The very idea of physical currency is being challenged by businesses and intellectuals alike.
There have been many conspiracy theories about the beast system, a sterile cashless society where technocrats rule over the populace, and everything and anything is exchanged via plastic credit cards – or an RFID chip inserted under the skin.
There are many people that are waiting for the signal that their chip is ready for them and that if it becomes mandatory to have the chip inserted in their bodies it will be the Mark of the Beast and soon we will be hearing of the beast system headed up by the Antichrist.
In this sterile and controlled Orwellian hi-tech society, the idea of cash being passed from hand-to-hand would be as archaic as the thought of riding along in a horse and buggy.
Still, despite the incredible penetration of credit and debit card transactions into economic consensus, and the boom in internet shopping, few will comfortably admit that a cashless society is nearly upon us.
Over the years, futurists and commentators alike seemed to agree that a cashless society will be a slow creep, and would automatically phase itself in simply by virtue of the sheer volume of electronic transactions that gradually make cash less available and more costly to redeem, or exchange.
This is still true for the most part. What few counted on, however, was how the final push would take place, and why. Some will be surprised by these new emerging mechanisms, and the political and sinister implications they ultimately lead to.
The US Dollar is pure fiat or money that derives its value from government regulation or law, but it does have a theoretical backer. It is an oil-backed currency and for better or for worse, is on its way to losing its long-lived status as the world’s reserve currency.
China is moving towards a gold-backed currency and has already agreed to buy the majority of its oil supply from Russia off of the US Dollar peg. This could mean two things: the US could be forced to fight a war to maintain Dollar supremacy, or the Dollar will begin to drop as the top backing currency.
This shift will open up a window of opportunity for money masters to insert not only a brand new global currency, but also its universal cashless attributes as well. In order for a full cashless society to happen one must invent a cashless currency.
Now, there are a lot of people that are being fooled into believing that Bitcoin will be the world’s cashless currency. This is a flawed supposition, because Bitcoin is not a currency.
Bitcoin is an asset that is converted to currency. We do know that some people and businesses use it as a medium of exchange. Most popular cryptocurrency performs quite poorly as a medium of exchange. This is fundamentally due to high volatility, which makes it inconvenient and impractical to denominate goods or services in Bitcoin. People welcome it as a medium of exchange because of its potential value and gain—however if the price drops in value then the purchase was a loss.
Think of Bitcoin as you would valuable car that if held, can increase in value. You wouldn’t buy your groceries and use your car to pay for them—you would sell your car to get the currency to buy groceries and maybe another car.
It is like comic books are not currency either – but if you have a DC Superman issue #1 in mint condition you could get $3,207,852 from an auction.
The most important feature of a currency is that it be a stable store of value.
The value of a Bitcoin has experienced an average daily change of 2% in value, sometimes down but mostly up. Bitcoin saw a huge drop in value after the holidays which were to be expected since many people liquefied their assets for Christmas gifts.
The headlines were saying that Bitcoin was dead – and yet its value has soared again.
There is nothing wrong with speculation; the actions of speculators help to add market liquidity and to determine the market value of assets. However, usually the asset being valued also has an actual underlying use: you can invest in gold or use it to make jewelry or electronic components. Bitcoins have no uses other than allowing people to hide wealth, conceal transactions, and make and lose money by trading them.
Now, it can be argued that Bitcoin or other crypto assets or commodities are vital because governments around the world are criminalizing huge transactions where cash is involved.
The European Union has seized further control over their banking systems. France and Spain have already criminalized cash transactions above a certain limit, but now the commission has unilaterally established new regulations that will affect the entire union. The fear of physical money flowing out of the trade bloc has manifested a draconian response from the State.
The European Action Plan doesn’t mention a specific dollar amount for restrictions, but as expected, their reasoning for the move is to thwart money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Two years ago The European Central Bank announced it was officially considering get rid of their 500 Euro note. This is giving US bankers ideas to possibly scrap the $100 dollar bill, and quite possibly, the $50 dollar bill.
These types of proposals tell me the banks fear there will be bank runs and black market start ups in the United States. They see moving to electronic money will first eliminate the underground economy, but secondly, they believe it will even prevent a banking crisis.
Like it or not, personal cash will soon be a dinosaur and your smart phones and your credit cards will be the preferred transactional utility and the gradual conditioning of people to use these in lieu of cash will be the mortar for the foundation for the new age of economic totalitarianism that confronts us.
Taking away cash is just one more way to take away privacy. It is a move for the surveillance state. Cash is anonymous. Having your transactions tracked with no cash exchanges is going to be yet another affront to our personal freedoms.
A cashless society can provide a way where the elite can manufacture scarcity on a whim.
If scarcity is to be manufactured, then a cashless society would benefit the banks — they would control increase and scarcity. If you were to see your bank account leveled and demanded cash, the bank wouldn’t have it – this prevents global bank runs.
The government and bankers are not stupid.
The fact both the US banks and the US central banks are considering removing their respective high digit currency in the context of a global conference demonstrates by itself that there seems to be a worldwide problem of milking the people of their money.
Now with that in mind, investing in a commodity or even an asset like Gold, Silver or even a cryptocurrency may be a good strategy.
Do you want to know about why you hear so many bad things about cryptocurrency?
Because, it has the Federal Reserve trembling in its shoes.
Governments control fiat currencies. They use central banks to issue or destroy money out of thin air, using what is known as monetary policy to exert economic influence. They also dictate how fiat currencies can be transferred, enabling them to track currency movement, dictate who profits from that movement, collect taxes on it, and trace criminal activity. All of this control is lost when non-government bodies create their own currencies.
Bitcoin users don’t need the existing banking system. The currency is created in cyberspace, when so called “miners” use the power of their computers to solve complex algorithms that serve as verification for Bitcoin transactions. Their reward is payment with cyber currency, which is stored digitally and passed between buyers and sellers without the need for an intermediary. On a smaller scale, airlines reward miles function in a similar way, enabling travelers to purchase plane tickets, hotel rooms, and other items using airline miles as virtual currency.
If Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency become widely adopted, the entire banking system could become irrelevant.
Central Bank tinkering with the money supply has induced recessions, exacerbated unemployment, and given rise to a global banking system based on profiteering and corruption.
You can use virtual currency to make purchases in a wide variety of video games and some retailers like overstock.com and tigerdirect.com. You can also use Bitcoin to safely purchase gift cards for hundreds of business like Home Depot, KMart, and amazon.com. However, the Bitcoin website notes that “Bitcoin is not a fiat currency with legal tender status in any jurisdiction.” And based on the regulatory and enforcement actions of major governments, including the United States and Russia, that status in unlikely to change anytime soon.