Facebook versus China Central Bank, Europe versus EEUU/China

10 de December de 2020

 

Below is an article published in elEconomista, written by Juan Maria Nin, Senior Adviser at LILF, about the changes in economic relations between Europe, United States and China. Please read the article through this link (Spanish only) or below (Translated into English and Chinese).

 

Facebook versus China Central Bank, Europe versus EEUU/China

We are witnessing an interesting battle for the economic, but above all political, future of our society, which will operate on two axes: the geographical and the public/private. What more could we ask for?

As far as the geographical axis is concerned, I believe that the United States has won the game of the Internet so far. It has Alphabet/Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, although it is true that China is responding with Wechat and Alibaba. The next game will revolve around Blockchain in which we Europeans have an opportunity to lead and not subordinate again.

As for the public/private game and the growing preeminence of the former, the stakes are high. Here, too, Blockchain will be decisive and, just as it provides an opportunity for Europeans, it will also provide an opportunity for the private world.

Why is Blockchain relevant? Because it is a spontaneous stability, something radically new, which did not exist and now does, and which will remain with us forever. It is a real invention! As money, or business, was in its day, it is of general application and is also radically contemporary, it is ‘cool’ as an Anglo-Saxon would say. The radical changes it enables will apply to many ordinary activities in our lives, for example public and private registers, property, commercial, notarial, custody and deposit of securities, commerce or culture. All this for better efficiency and security with the great improvements in productivity that this entails. It will make our lives easier, except for unjust public use for greater control, if possible, of citizens. A fantastic “general ledger” has been born, private like the intranet or public like the internet, but which is, as we have said, in itself, a radical change. For the time being, the greatest impact may come from the financial world, which has strongly anticipated other sectors. Let’s see: the appearance of Blockchain has allowed the development, unevenly for the moment, of three types of assets.

A new currency/currency that central banks will be able to issue to replace our current dollars, euros and potentially it’s most important innovation, is that it will allow them to efficiently replicate 100% of the basic services that private banks currently offer to individuals (deposits, current accounts, direct debits). But also the appearance, at last, of new international currencies in line with the proposal made by Keynes and the United Kingdom in Bretton Woods, the Bancor. This which failed due to the victory of the US dollar, and the Ducat of Hayek, which was also a failure, as were other less noteworthy attempts, but which are now once again feasible for all thanks to Blockchain and which already have a first proposal, the Facebook Pound. As we said at the beginning, a new public/private dance begins, and geography and politics of blocks versus universal currency without borders.

The second asset is crypto-currency, also made possible by its operational base in Blockchain. They are currencies which operate independently of the Central Banks, with no other reference of value than their utility and the cost of their manufacture, the mining industry, but without real or financial assets which anchor, stabilise and objectify it. Volatility is their monetary essence, which differentiates them from projects such as Libra, which would be a currency anchored in other public currencies which would be their underlying currency. This would make it possible to objectify the rules of their value and reduce volatility below the aforementioned underlying dollars, euros, etc., as well as to limit their supply and, consequently, preserve their value.

The third asset is Tokens, “tokens” as a noun and “symbolic” as an adjective. Also, as with the coins we have already mentioned, they are digital assets thanks to blockchain technology. The first (utility tokens) have been early private initiatives, based on crowdfunding and whose returns are linked to services which generate future rights. The second, the security tokens, are financial securities with a new format, registered only in a public blockchain and, therefore, born and developed as purely digital or also, in a more intermediate area, if they are based on an underlying asset of which they are constituted as a property certificate.

Let’s look at the future of these assets. The possibility of a private universal currency, Libra or whatever, is dawning, with all that this implies in terms of challenges to the established borders of public power and state sovereignty: a challenge to the use of the official currency as an instrument of clientelist policy, of trade and currency war of power, but, fundamentally, it is a challenge because it provides an opportunity to exercise individual freedom in the face of a potentially omnipresent system that watches over everything and is moving very quickly towards a control that has never been experienced before. As Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s CEO, has warned, he recommends prudence and regulatory reflection in the face of the dazzling advance in the constitution of gigantic corporate databases that contain everything and in which the last step is that of facial recognition. Of course, on the other side of the scale are the problems that such a currency poses to an established system of legal subjection and administrative supervision, since its development, compliance and derived conduct could easily escape the rules of the democratic game and the final rule of justice. Also, and in the same vein, cryptomonies are a force vector that poses a similar challenge, although, in my opinion, lesser than that of a truly universal private currency. But while the great battle is being prepared, some large figures will give us a better perspective of the concepts handled here and their transcendence.

Let’s see some with rounded figures in US dollars. The world’s cash money is 80 trillion, capital market (stocks, bonds and derivatives) 200 trillion, real assets 1 trillion and digital assets 0.3 trillion. In 10 years it is estimated that 10% may be digital assets, Tokens will have the most enormous ledger imaginable thanks to new technology and new invention. 50 trillion worth of Tokens, 50 times the Spanish GDP, noted in the new invention. Yes, it will be transcendent.

Having established the importance of the change that blockchain entails, let us add some final considerations. The first: if sovereign debt, with its current denomination in state currency, does not improve its risk profile, the shift that could take place, through public to private risk arbitration, is very clear: the movement to new currencies that could be perceived as more reliable than public ones could be very significant and as a consequence, the financing of the phenomenal mountain of sovereign debt in which we have installed ourselves and which finances an oversized and partly badly managed public sector thanks to this excessive leverage, would be put in check. The stability of the Welfare State is at stake. It could be a checkmate. The second is that if the Central Banks, as has been pointed out, were to issue crypto-currencies, CDBC’s (Central Bank Digital Currency), the challenge to private banking could be phenomenal and, in the opposite direction to that mentioned, there would be a massive transfer of savings from the private sector to the central banks, entities which are already very powerful today and which, in the case mentioned, would be even more decisive in economic and social life than they have been up to now. Let us remember that these entities are, by definition, independent of political power. Finally, the new centres of power, the large metropolises could issue their own currency. It would not be the first time that a municipality issued money. Third parties in discord in a world of high competition and which already poses a major growing challenge to the current nation-state.

It will be very interesting to see how these issues evolve and the level of diligence of our governments to manage them properly. We Europeans have a lot at stake in this next power struggle. We are beginning to see a major difference between member countries with a clear advantage on the part of some of our partners in the EU. Meanwhile, Chinese and Russian corporate databases are being built up at great speed, with great efficiency and, as we said, with facial recognition as the latest control product. Central banks are also moving rapidly towards issuing their new digital currencies and governments and international bodies are preparing to curb the most powerful private universal currency initiatives in favour of regulation and their own currencies.

In Apple’s 1984 announcement introducing the new Mckintosh invention, a female hammer thrower breaks the unique thinking and bad Orwellian dream of total control through universal communication. Today the same hammer threatens the freedom and universality of citizens through effective corporate databases and blockchain points us relentlessly in a ledger that is currently impenetrable. The battle is set.

 

Facebook对阵中国央行,欧洲对阵美国、中国

我们正面临一场关于未来的有趣战争,这战争涉及我们社会的经济方面,但和政治方面尤其相关。这场战争将沿着两个轴线发展:地理轴线和公共/私人轴线。 我们还能要求什么呢?

就地理轴线而言,我认为,美国至今已经赢得了网络一战。Alphabet/谷歌、微软、亚马逊、Facebook——尽管中国确实是兴致勃勃地复制了微信、阿里巴巴。下一战将是区块链,在这一战中,我们欧洲人有机会领先,而不再是从属。

至于公共/私人一战和前者日益突出的地位,风险很大。在这里,区块链将起着决定性作用,并且就像它给欧洲人一个机会一样,它也将给私人世界一个机会。

但为什么区块链会这么重要?因为它具有一种自发的稳定性,是一种全新的东西,一种以前不存在、现在存在,而且将永远伴随着我们的东西。这是一个真正的发明!就像当时的钱,或者说公司那样,区块链具有普适性和强烈的现代性。盎格鲁-撒克逊人会说它很cool。它所带来的根本性变化将会运用到我们生活中的许多日常活动,例如财产、公司、公证、证券的保管和存放的公私登记,或者商业、文化的公私登记。所有这些都是为了由区块链导致的生产力的巨大提高而带来的更高的效率和安全性。这将使我们的生活更容易,除了为了更好控制公民(如果可能的话,是的,这是可能的)而产生的不合理公共使用。一个神奇的 “总账”诞生了,它像内网一样的私密,或者像互联网一样的公开,但正如我们所说,它本身就是一个彻底的改变。就目前而言,最大的影响可能来自金融界,金融界大大领先了其他行业。我们来看看:区块链的出现让三类资产出现了暂时不均衡的发展。

一种中央银行将能够发行来取代我们现在的美元、欧元新的货币/外汇,其潜在的最重要的创新之处是,它将允许中央银行百分之百地有效复制私人银行目前为个人提供的基本服务(存款、支票存款账户、直接借记)。但终于也出现了与凯恩斯和英国在布雷顿森林体系中的建议一致新的国际货币。班科(el Bancor)由于美元的胜利、哈耶克的胜利而失败了;达克特(el Ducat)和其他不那么著名的尝试也同样失败了。但现在由于区块链和Facebook的利波拉(Libra)的第一个计划,新的国际货币再次变得可行。就像我们一开始说的,新的公共对私人、地理和政治的区块对无边界的通用货币之舞开始了。

第二种资产是加密货币,也是由于其在区块链中的操作基础而得以实现。这些货币是独立于中央银行运作的货币,除了其效用和制造、开采的成本外,没有其他价值参照物,但也没有实体或金融资产来固定、稳定和客观化它。波动性是它们的货币本质,这也是它们与利波拉等项目的不同之处,利波拉将是一种与其他公共货币(这些货币将是它的标的)挂钩的货币,这将使它的价值规则客观化,并将波动性降低到上述标的美元、欧元等以下,并限制它的供应量,从而实现保值。

第三种资产是代币(Tokens),(英语中的Tokens对应的西语)“fichas”(代币)是名词, “simbólicos”(“象征性的”)是形容词。另外,和我们已经提到的币一样,得益于区块链技术,代币是一种数字资产。第一种(实用代币)是基于众筹的私人早鸟计划,其收益与未来权利产生的服务挂钩。第二种,安全代币,是一种新形式的金融证券,只在公共区块链中注册,因此,其诞生和发展是纯数字的,抑或是比较中间的地带,如果是以标的资产构成的财产证书为基础。

我们来看看这些资产的未来。一种私人通用货币——利波拉或其他什么货币——的可能性正在出现,这意味着对公共权力和国家主权的既定边界的挑战:对使用官方货币作为侍从主义政策、商业和货币战争的工具——简而言之——对权力的挑战,但从根本上说,它之所以是挑战,是因为它提供了一个机会,一个可能无所不在的、监视着一切并非常迅速地走向一种前所未有的控制的系统面前行使个人自由的机会。正如Alphabet的首席执行官Sundar Pichai所警告的那样,面对在构建令人眼花缭乱的巨型企业数据库方面所取得的进步,他建议谨慎和监管反思,因为这些数据库包含了一切,而其中最后一步是令人震惊的面部识别。当然,天平指针的另一边是这种货币对现有体系带来的问题,现有体系是建立在法律约束和行政监管之上的,因此,这种货币的发展和实现以及衍生的行为很容易逃脱民主游戏规则和最终的司法制裁。另外,同样的方向,加密货币也是一种能引发类似挑战的力量矢量,虽然在我看来,其规模不如真正的通用私人货币。但在准备大战的同时,一些大数字会让我们更好地了解这里所涉及的概念及其深远影响。

让我们来看看一些以美元为单位的四舍五入的数字。全世界的现金是80万亿,资本市场(股票、债券和衍生品)200万亿,实物资产1百亿亿,数字资产0.3万亿。10年后估计10%可能是数字资产——代币,由于新技术和新发明,我们将拥有我们所能想象的最巨大的账本。价值50万亿的代币是西班牙GDP的50倍?在新的发明中被记下。是的,这将是影响深远的。

在确定了区块链所带来的变革的重要性之后,让我们补充一些最后的考虑。首先,如果主权债务以其目前的国家货币计价,不能改善其风险状况,那么,通过公共风险到私人风险的套利可能发生的转变是非常明显的:转向可能被认为比公共货币更可靠的新货币可能是非常重要的,因此,对我们已经造成的巨大主权债务山进行融资是将自己置于被将军的位置,这些主权债务为一个规模过大和由于这种过度的杠杆作用而部分管理不善的公共部门提供资金。这关系到福利国家的稳定。这有可能将自己置于死地。二是如果中央银行,正如已经指出的那样,发行加密货币,即CDBC(中央银行数字货币),私人银行面临的挑战可能是惊人的,而且,与上述方向相反,会有大量的储蓄从私人行业转移到中央银行,而这些中央银行在今天已经非常强大,在上述情况下,它们在经济和社会生活中的决定性作用会比现在更大。让我们记住,根据定义,这些实体是独立于政治权力的。最后,为什么不呢? 新的权力中心,大都市可以发行自己的货币。这将不是第一次由市政府发行货币。不和谐的第三方在一个高度竞争的世界里,这已经对当前的民族国家构成了越来越重大的挑战。

看看这些问题如何发展,以及我们的政府在妥善处理这些问题方面的努力程度,将是非常有趣的。在接下来的权力斗争中,我们欧洲人有很多的利益。我们开始看到欧盟成员国之间的重大差异,其中一些成员国具有明显的优势。同时,中国和俄罗斯的企业数据库建设速度极快,效率极高,并正如我们所说,将人脸识别作为最新的监控产品。各国央行在发行新的数字货币方面也进展迅速,各国政府和国际机构也在准备遏制最强大的私人通用货币计划,以支持监管和自己的货币。

在1984年苹果公司介绍新发明Mckintosh的广告中,一位女士投掷锤子用通用通信打破了单一思维和奥威尔式全面控制的糟糕梦想。今天,同样的锤子通过有效的企业数据库威胁着公民的自由和普遍性,而区块链无情地将我们指向了一个暂时无法穿透的账本。战役即将到来。

 

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