Not So ‘Anonymous’… Digital Means Every Transaction is Recorded
In early 2025, an underground group started gaining traction on the dark web. The dark web is a section of the web that can’t be accessed through regular search engines.
The organisation pushed for a global cyber campaign to uncover injustices and corruption.
The group attracted mainly Gen Zs. This generation is tech-savvy, carry huge college debt, and have trouble finding employment. In other words, they are unhappy.
The group first started small, meeting in parks and coffee shops in Seattle. But it soon expanded to other US cities and major international capitals in Europe and around the world, like Hanoi, Mexico City, and Tokyo.
After meeting in person, the organisation gives recruits instructions on how to access the organisation’s websites through the dark web. This allows them access to malware and a list of organisations and corporations to target in their cyber campaign.
Whatever money they can extract out of those organisations through their malware gets turned into bitcoin and then given to what the organisation deems as a worthy cause or a member in financial need.
This is how a Gen Z rebellion or what the Pentagon dubbed ‘Zbellion’ could play out.
The above is part of the 2018 Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program (JLASS), a game made up by the Pentagon to be used for training students and faculty in US military colleges, and recently published by The Intercept. You can read it here.
A Zbellion is not the only scenario JLASS toyed with. The exercise also included alternative scenarios like Islamic militants in Africa and anti-capitalist extremists.
It’s not the first time the Pentagon has used games to mimic a possible future scenario. I mean, who can forget the movie WarGames, right?
As The Intercept revealed:
‘While it is explicitly not a national intelligence estimate, the war game, which covers the future through early 2028, is “intended to reflect a plausible depiction of major trends and influences in the world regions,” according to the more than 200 pages of documents.’
What’s interesting about this is that the Pentagon is giving bitcoin the bad rap for illegal activities in the future, something that until not that long ago was mostly reserved for cash.
Bitcoin has its perks over cash
It’s easy to transfer and it doesn’t need storage space. But there is also the fact that we are quickly moving on to digital with COVID-19.
The virus is changing the way people interact with cash. People don’t want to touch the stuff, they are worried they will catch the virus.
In China, during the outbreak, Chinese banks resorted to washing and disinfecting cash. Banks were even quarantining cash for days before giving it to customers.
Some shops are not even taking cash anymore. People don’t want to touch ATMs or the pad at the store if they are paying over $100. I recently noted that my card limit has increased to $200, I don’t need to put in the pin. You’ve probably noticed the same.
It may be that cash is a goner.
It was a trend that was already happening before COVID-19.
In Australia, cash payments made up 27% of total payments in 2019, down from 69% in 2007.
Several central banks around the world were already studying digital currencies and countries introduced cash limits to, as they said, fight criminal activities, or introduced measures to reduce cash use.
Greece wants their citizens to spend at least 30% of their income on digital payments or pay a fine.
As I said, COVID-19 is expediting trends. The case for getting rid of cash is gaining ground with the virus.
It’s easy to see the benefits of getting rid of cash for governments and banks to go digital.
Cash costs money to produce and move around
Using digital and cards increases spending and growth. You think less about tapping and going than when you have to count your cash to pay.
And it will become important as governments keep pouring in a lot of money to keep the economy going. They will eventually need to make it back in taxes.
Going digital means every transaction would be recorded, which would be easier to tax. And it would allow for more data collection there. Where you spend your money says a lot about you.
And, of course, cash provides an escape from negative rates.
We are going through a money transformation.
COVID-19 is changing the world. It’s shut down the world economy and has created a lot of confusion.
Jim Rickards says COVID-19 could be a ‘trojan horse’. One hiding something big and highly unexpected underneath. You can read more about it here.