Toward an Electronic Currency

Getting your canceled checks from the bank will soon be a thing of the past. The Federal Reserve has nudged the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act through Congress, and it goes into effect at the end of October.

Canceled checks will be replaced by “image replacement documents”, or IRDs. Originals will usually be destroyed at a bank other than the one from which they were drawn.

Critics claim that up to 7 million more checks will bounce every month because of the reduced “float” period, and they point out that it will be more difficult to prove cases of fraud without original checks. Supporters of the bill–which passed the House and Senate by unanimous votes–say the system will be more secure and will avoid interruptions like the one caused by grounding air traffic after the terror attacks on 9/11.

The bill moves the U.S. one step closer toward the elimination of all physical instruments of exchange and transitioning to an electronic currency.

It sounds convenient, but it’s easier for the government to keep you in line if you don’t have some means of purchasing good that you can hold in your hand–especially if your life savings can be frozen or erased with a couple of keystrokes, and every purchase you make–not just with a credit card, but every transaction–broadcasts your whereabouts to the Information Awareness Office.

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