Marty Bent is a Venture Partner at Ten31, founder of the Bitcoin-focused media company TFTC.io, and Director of Cathedra Bitcoin. In this interview, we discuss the potential implementation of a global financial system based on CBDCs and the role of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). We also talk about the potential role of Bitcoin in fighting against state actors.
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CBDCs are the unwanted concomitants of Satoshi’s innovation: the state’s answer to the settlement improvements offered by Bitcoin, without any of the fundamental design features predicated on protecting individuals in the digital age. They represent everything Satoshi was working against: the chance for the state to fully capture and control people’s use of money with all of the inherent dangers to democracy and individual liberty that this brings.
Technological developments akin to CBDCs were always going to manifest, but, it is obviously not a coincidence that work on them accelerated in the shadow of Bitcoin. For over a century, governments, central banks and other centralising institutions have had an unfettered ability to control and manipulate money; money printing and inflation rigged the system in favour of the dealer. Bitcoin offers a chance for a new and fairer system.
Whilst it is easier for those with knowledge to identify the extreme contrast between the two forms of money, it is also clear how and why people believe CBDCs are a good idea. The state has an asymmetric power in pushing narratives; promoting the benefits of having the utility of instant digital transactions that safeguards against paedophiles, terrorists and money launders, will certainly seem like an incontestable advancement. It’s just that we know this isn’t the purpose.
The ring leader in this global effort to retain central authority over money is being led by the Bank of International Settlements. The BIS is behind a number of pilot projects that sound like they were devised by a megalomaniac James Bond villain (Project Rosalind, Project Polaris). Playing the role of Blofeld is Agustín Carstens.
In 2022 Mr Carstens stated “the soul of money belongs neither to a big tech nor to an anonymous ledger. The soul of money is trust… central banks have been and continue to be the institutions best placed to provide trust in the digital age.” Carstens believes that technology can’t make trusted money. He is expecting us to ignore the evidence of history where institutions have repeatedly abused the trust bestowed on them. And he is asking us to ignore Bitcoin.