The United States may soon have its own digital dollar, which would track transactions while giving banks and governments full control over how people spend money. The New York Federal Reserve has launched a 12-week pilot program for a central bank digital currency, with participants including Mastercard, Citi, HSBC, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, and others. As this takes place, Nigeria has gone from rolling out a digital currency to forcing it on its citizens, by restricting the amount of physical cash people can withdraw.
Central bank digital currencies not only represent a new form of money, but also a new potential for tyrannical social control. This is according to Nick Corbishley, investigative journalist and author of “Scanned: Why Vaccine Passports and Digital IDs Will Mean the End of Privacy and Personal Freedom.” We speak with Corbishley about why what’s happening with digital currencies in New York and Nigeria matters for the world, how digital currencies can be used by authoritarian regimes, and where the world is heading if the new form of currency is not challenged.