Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow

The battle against cash goes on

People spend the night in front of ATMs with the hope that money will be brought there and they will finally be able to withdraw it after standing in line for many hours. Sometimes the fights break out, even among those waiting in front of the banks. Tensions reach their peak. Branches are set on fire and people all over the country take to the streets….

Scenes from Cyprus 2013? No. Nigeria, Laos, April this year. Old banknotes were invalidated in February and since then no new ones have been printed, only the old ones collected from the market by the central bank and destroyed. At the same time, they introduced central bank digital currency (CBDC), which was not accepted by the people at all. Over 200 million people were deprived of their money overnight. Almost no one wanted to pay or transact with the new e-currency (called eNaira). Thousands of businesses went bankrupt in a short period of time. A paradoxical situation arose in which gasoline could no longer be bought at gas stations in the country, which is one of the largest oil producers in the world.

Nigeria, with its 22o million people, has long since overtaken South Africa and is the largest economy on the Dark Continent. It is a country with huge raw material resources and a development potential that African mentality and corruption, which is present everywhere, wreck. It can be said that it is a rich country of poor people because almost all the capital is in the hands of politicians. One of them, the head of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefile, said in Davos that his country would soon be cashless and – lo and behold – that might end with blood in the streets. It is hard to believe that in a country where 32% of the people are illiterate, where most people do not have access to electricity, the idea of digital currency comes from below; that the shamans had whispered it in the ears of ordinary people. No, it comes from above and from outside. Third World countries have always been a training ground for Western elites, the grassroots movement of the new authoritarian world without cash. This time they are testing how far and how fast they are able to implement their ideas.

Finally, it should be remembered that the complete transition to cash, would make citizens transparent. Central banks could regulate digital money, depending on how they would like a citizen. It could also be that the validity of the money would be limited in time and could only be spent for certain purposes. Electronically, that’s easy to organize. How embarrassing that would be for the Germans, 58% of whom pay in cash! Nigeria has also been called the “cash king” in Africa.

The virtual world threatens the physical world. More on this in Gefira 73.

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