Cashless. Gold, Barter and Bitcoin. New ways to cheat at Monopoly

The banker in Monopoly has an advantage. As a kid, playing with my sister and her girl friends, being that I was the youngest of the group, a boy and persuasive, I pleaded to be the banker and was indulged. Not coincidentally, I won a lot. Perhaps they knew I was cheating and didn’t care, they enjoyed the activity more than ‘winning’. For me it was the other way around.
Now Monopoly is becoming digital and completely cashless. Paper money is replaced by a tiny ATM to keep track of every financial transaction.
Whoever is on the other side of that digital paymaster has the ability to change the value of the money, the hotels, the houses, the rent, how much gets collected and how much gets paid out. They can also give money, then take it back. Now that’s a fun game, if… I am in control of that digital system. Perhaps, if the digital bank is networked into other Monopoly games being played I could hack those games too.
There was a meeting and you weren’t invited
January 20: Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan predicted cash won’t exist in 10 years.
January 22: Norway’s biggest bank, DNB, called for the country to stop using cash. January 29: January 29, Bank of Japan decided to impose negative interest rates in Japan for the first time ever.
February 15: Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank (ECB), announced that he has essentially decided to phase out the €500 note. These notes represent around 30% of the physical euro notes in circulation..
India, on November 8th 2016, banned the use of Rs 500 (~$7.50) and Rs 1,000 ($15) banknotes. This made most currency-in-use illegal. Those who find themselves stuck with high denomination bills must accept as little as Rs 700 in usable currency for every Rs 1000 of banned currency. The ban affects 88% of the monetary value of the currency in circulation, which completed 97% of consumer transactions. Soon thereafter, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank, realized that they are unable to print money anywhere near fast enough and gave notice that the conversion of old banknotes was to be discontinued.
With the end of conversion those who have no bank accounts — 50% of the India’s population — are now left in a situation in which their banned currency has only a mafia controlled, black market value.
The government has also given notice that it will tax all the cash deposited that it thinks is somehow suspicious at a minimum rate of 50% and will require the remaining 50% to be frozen for four years.
The Russian Ministries of Finance and Economic Development have said that they are discussing a special tax to be imposed on cash transactions in order to fight what they perceive is a growing epidemic of physical cash being used in tax avoidance, and in money laundering by and for criminal elements.
In the first nine months of 2016 holders of bank cards withdrew 19 trillion rubles ($330 billion), but only spent 8.7 trillion ($150 billion) to pay for goods and services using plastic.
The Swedish central bank, no slouch at wrecking an economy, is doing their part.
At Nordea Bank, 200 of its 300 branches are now cashless, and three-quarters of Swedbank branches no longer handle cash. Swedbank’s marketing dept explains they are working “actively to reduce the [amount] of cash in society.” The reasons are the environment, cost, and security: ”We ourselves emit 700 tons of carbon dioxide by cash transport. It costs society 11 billion per year.”
In Kenya the funds transferred by the biggest mobile money operator, M-Pesa (a division of Vodafone), account for more than 25% of the country’s GDP.
In Nigeria the government launched a Mastercard-branded biometric national ID card, which also doubles up as a payment card. The “service” provides Mastercard with direct access to over 170 million potential customers, not to mention all their personal and biometric data.
Australia is putting their shrimp on the barbie. Citibank announced that it was going cashless at some of its Australian bank branches. UBS called for the elimination of the Australian $100 and $50 bills because it would be “good for the economy and good for the banks.”
Norway has found another way to explain going cashless. Norges, Norway’s Central Bank “Today, there is approximately 50 billion kroner in circulation and (we) can only account for 40 percent of its use. That means that 60 percent of money usage is outside of any control. We believe that is due to under-the-table money and laundering”
In France, opponents of cash tried to pass a law in 2012 which would restrict the use of cash from a maximum of 3,000 euros per exchange to 1,000. The law failed, but then there was the attack on Charlie Hebdo and on a Jewish supermarket, so immediately the state used this as a reason for getting the 1,000 maximum limit. They got their maximum limit. Why? Well, proponents claim that these attacks were partially financed by cash.
Greece sold instruments which it fraudulently called bonds, but it had neither means, nor the intent to repay. Those bonds are bogus paper. The Greek government stole the money, in the guise of borrowing it. Cypriot banks invested considerable deposits in Greek bonds. When depositors realized this, they began to withdraw their cash—a run on the banks. The banks were insolvent, so someone had to take losses. Cashless has been the mechanism that shifts the losses from bondholders and other creditors to depositors. Greece is now imposing a surcharge for all cash withdrawals from bank accounts to deter citizens from clearing out their accounts. Greeks will have to pay one euro per 1,000 euros that they withdraw, which is one-tenth of a percent.
Negative interests rate explained
Let’s say that the Greek “surcharge” is ten dollars for every 100 dollars withdrawn. Instead of being able to convert one euro in your checking account into one euro in cash,  you will only be able to buy one euro in cash by spending 1.10 euros in your bank accounts. You lose 10 percent every time you withdraw one euro in cash.
Keynesianism Economics in 6 words: Savings is harmful to the economy
The more we save now, the poorer we will all become, and the less able we will be to save, and consume, in the future – guy in a suit
By forcing people and companies to convert their paper money into bank deposits, the hope is that they can be coerced to spend that money rather than save it because those deposits will carry the considerable costs of negative interest rates.
But why poppa?
Central banks have no ammunition left to fight the next recession, the US government and the Federal Reserve have spent, borrowed, and printed so much that there is no future left to mortgage.
Their last device to keeping their Weekend at Bernie’s is to cut rates below zero.
Depositors don’t like paying the bank to deposit their cash. They withdraw their deposits. Withdrawals reduce bank funding, forcing banks to sell bonds. This pushes interest up, contrary to the plans of the central bank. It’s worth noting that bank runs and interest rate pressure are the reasons why President Roosevelt outlawed gold in 1933.
In the 1930s, gold was the escape route, so it was confiscated.
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through monetary inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods – Alan Greenspan
As long as cash exists, there’s no way of preventing depositors from taking their money out of the bank and parking it where the erosive effects of negative interest rates can’t reach it.
Alternate forms of money
Prostitutes have to get paid. This is not meant to be cruel, sexist or nasty. Only reality. It is the oldest profession. Even monkeys have been observed prostituting for grapes. Cashless benefits the brothels because they will have accept electronic payment and will report it, deducting taxes from the workers. But what of the prostitute who is a solo practitioner? The brothel system also alters the payment schedule to weekly rather than daily.
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is releasing its own digital currency, as have Bank of England, Bank of Canada Unlike Internet banking and third-party payment services using traditional electronic payment tools to facilitate money transmission, digital currencies are not tools to transmit money; they are money.
Digital currencies can be divided into three categories
1. Digital Currencies Issued by Non-Financial Institutions. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system and can be transferred directly between two individuals without a centralized clearance house. It is a nationality-neutral payment system.
2. Commercial Banks-issued Digital Currency. International financial institutions are utilizing Bitcoin’s underlying technology, known as Blockchain as the foundation for their own, unique digital currency.
3. Central Bank-issued Digital Currency. Central banks, such as PBoC and Bank of England, plan to issue their own Central Bank-issued Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Built on Blockchain but due to its pedigree, it has global economic utility
Mexico is textbook for what has happened and will happen more. Vales de despensa, or grocery coupons, are a significant part of a workers ‘earnings’. The value of grocery coupons is not declared as part of one’s personal income and are an accepted form of currency in supermarkets, gas stations and even restaurants. As an example, Alcoa in Mexico pay stubs shows a median base wage of $1.21 an hour. With attendance, punctuality bonuses and food coupons, the fully integrated median wage for an Alcoa production line worker was $1.95 an hour.
An ancient system exists under many names, but the underlying mechanism of money transmittal is the same, credit receipts and payments. Accounts are maintained for individual clients and instructions are sent to a syndicate member to make payment to another’s account. This was the system that was used in ancient times, and then reemerged in the ‘dark ages’, a time when coinage virtually disappeared.
The most durable currency. It can be concealed, buried, divided into smaller parts. Goldsmiths accept deposits and issued receipts in return. The distinction between bank notes and deposit receipts issued by goldsmiths is a receipt for deposit payable to the “bearer” rather than an account.
Is being used in many countries where cash is not available and suffers a liquidity problem. In Greece a new system of digital exchange is the Local Alternative Unit, or TEM. Transactions are recorded online. One TEM is equal to one euro. TEM, is not currency, it is a way of calculating bartered values
Damaging the poor and small business
The percentage of poorer Americans who don’t have credit cards or bank accounts now, either because they don’t understand how it all works, or they’re forced to function in the “gray” economy for one reason or another (e.g. a drug felony rap).
The homeless are without a fixed abode, have no bank account and can’t accept Bitcoin from passing strangers. And while a lack of cash doesn’t make you homeless, it has the potential to keep you on the streets. If we’re heading for a cashless society, how do we ensure that people on the margins of society are able to live, work and have good relationships within that kind of society?
The fact that cash enables black market transactions is one of its greatest benefits to the poor and under-capitalized. Cash lets people start businesses free of regulatory harassment. It’s an efficient system, you’re paid under the table, so you can skip the regulatory costs. In other words, black-market business is the “venture capital” industry of the poor and young. Cash provides early-stage immunity from regulatory burdens that would otherwise strangle small entrepreneurs.
Oh, and you’re a sucker.
By the time all the proxies and apparatus of the State are done with you, you’ll be desperately wanting the world to be cashless. All the pundits and experts, all the op-eds and editorials, all the VC’s, and Facebook likes and shares and twitter favorites, HuffPo, NYTimes, Washington Post articles, all the CNN panels will be telling you it will make the world a better place.
So, you won’t march. No selfies.
I’ll be marching in the streets, wearing a credit card hat and a T-shirt that says you cant grab my cash. It will be a small gathering, untelevised.
And lonely.
The End?

Leave a Reply