Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are a source of deep concern among the public. it’s done

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are a source of deep concern among the public. This was clearly expressed at the Oslo Freedom Forum held last week. While the risk of governments abusing their power worries many people, it is especially true for those fighting for freedom under authoritarian regimes.

If you don’t know, the Oslo Freedom Forum is an annual gathering organized by the Human Rights Foundation in Oslo, Norway. It is time for human rights activists to share their experiences under authoritarian regimes and exchange calls for action to build a better future.

For my part, I spent the first two days raising awareness about what is happening in the world of CBDCs using an article created by the Human Rights Foundation.

Presentation of the CBDC at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Source: Nicolas Anthony

Time and time again, I have heard the same response from activists, government officials, and citizens. They said, “I didn’t know my country did this. » It’s also frustrating to see how left out the public is.

Related: Rushing to OP_CAT on Bitcoin Could Come at a Huge Security Cost

In the context of the Oslo Freedom Forum, it is easy to understand why people are concerned about these developments. From Russia to Nicaragua, governments are repeatedly turning to the financial system as a means of controlling dissent. Consider the experiences of Carlos Chamorro, Jimmy Lai and Alexei Navalny.

More than a year ago, the Nicaraguan government declared Carlos Chamorro stateless and a traitor to the country. His pension, his house and all his property were seized. What is his crime? Chamorro spoke out against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and created a trustworthy news agency to denounce the regime.

In Hong Kong, Jimmy Lai currently faces a life sentence on similar charges. Like Chamorro, Lay did not hesitate to criticize those in power and established a newspaper to help spread calls for democracy. In response to Lai and other participants in the pro-democracy protests, the Hong Kong government froze financial accounts and seized assets to silence dissent.

Finally, in Russia, Alexeï Navalny lost his life this year while imprisoned in a Russian labor camp. Navalny created the Anti-Corruption Foundation and regularly criticizes Vladimir Putin’s regime. Anna Czechovich, financial director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, said the company’s accounts were frozen before charges were brought. Worse, the government prosecuted individual employees and people associated with them.

In this context, it is easy to understand why so many people are worried. Governments around the world use the financial system as a means of control, and the emergence of central bank digital currencies offers the opportunity to significantly expand their existing powers.

When it came time to take the stage on the third day, I was able to voice these concerns and sit down for a discussion with Charlene Faderippo and Roger Huang – the authors of the book, respectively. Bitcoin jump And Will Mao keep Bitcoin?

Charlene Faderippo and Roger Huang speak at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Source: YouTube screenshot

As Fadrebo and Huang described the deployment of central bank digital currencies in Nigeria and China, a trend quickly emerged: government inefficiency. Fadrebo noted that Nigeria’s central bank digital currency was of “high quality” when it hit the shelves and had acquired a less than stellar reputation among the public. The official app has been temporarily removed from stores due to several issues. Huang also added: “I’ve called for central banks to effectively become technology companies, and in China, that’s where I’ve seen them fail miserably. »

However, government incompetence could be the positive side of this story.

There is a risk that governments will try to compensate for their lack of competence with force, Hwang warned. As he explained: “The Chinese Communist Party derives its legitimacy from its supposed competence to govern the Chinese people.” However, reports emerged that even Chinese government employees did not support the program. Faced with embarrassment, the Chinese government may take more drastic measures in the future.

In Nigeria, stricter measures have already come into effect as the government regulated liquidity shortages. Facing a CBDC adoption rate of 0.5 percent, the government created a liquidity crunch that caused some Nigerians to turn to CBDCs. Godwin Emefiele, then governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, hailed the success of these measures. However, as Fadrebo noted, “this was the final straw (for many Nigerians). »

Related: “Open Source” CBDCs Won’t Protect You From the Government

However, these stories are just the beginning. If the rise of central bank digital currencies continues, the stakes will be high, especially for those fighting for human rights.

Once upon a time, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo said: “If our rice bowls were still in the hands of the Communist Party… people like us should shut up. In other words, as Huang explained at the hearing: “If they control my income, there’s no way I can disagree.” “A world that allows central banks and governments to control people’s income and the ability to consume their money is a world where the kind of control Liu Xiaobo feared would occur,” Huang added.

As Seth for Privacy also pointed out during the discussion: “The biggest takeaway from the conversations about central bank digital currencies here at the (Oslo Freedom Forum) is that) the protests, the Activism and dissent become much more difficult if governments have complete and trivial control. on their citizens’ money.

The Oslo Freedom Forum is a humbling experience. In a place where Paul Rusesabagina claims to be nothing more than an ordinary man, even though he saved the lives of more than 1,000 people in Rwanda and survived a kidnapping, it is reasonable to ask what impact he could have. However, walking away can be as simple as speaking up.

The majority of people have no idea what “CBDC” means, let alone the risks that exist. So in our mission to fight back, one of the most important things we can do today is make sure that people actually know that there is something that we need to fight against.

Nicolas Antoine He is a guest columnist for Cointelegraph and a policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Fiscal Alternatives. He is the author of the attack on cryptocurrencies of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: questioning the justification of the cryptocurrencies provisions and the right to financial privacy: elaborating a better framework for financial privacy in the digital age.

This article is intended for general information purposes and is not intended and should not be relied upon as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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