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NEW DELHI, India (LifeSiteNews) — The Group of 20 (G20), the 19 most influential countries on earth plus the European Union, has endorsed proposals to explore development of a “digital public infrastructure,” including digital identification systems and potentially a centralized digital currency. 

The G20 consists of the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. Its members “represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.”

In a Leaders’ Declaration released September 10, the G20 leaders called for “swift implementation” of the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework & Amendments to the Common Reporting Standard, a taxation and reporting framework for crypto-assets. They also endorsed “discussions on the potential macro-financial implications arising from the introduction and adoption of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).”

Then, in its Policy Recommendations for Advancing Financial Inclusion and Productivity Gains through Digital Public Infrastructure released this week, the G20 endorsed exploration of “digital public infrastructure” (DPI) consisting of “digital ID, digital payments, and data exchange.” Digital identification, the document claimed, “could further financial inclusion, especially in low- and middle-income countries, where insufficient documentation is often a barrier to account ownership.”

The Epoch Times reported that “no talk of banning cryptocurrency” took place during the G20’s weekend summit on the matter, but numerous officials are enthusiastic about a more digital future.

“India’s presidency has put on the table key issues related to regulating or understanding that there should be a framework for handling issues related to crypto assets,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister of India.

“Many of you are familiar with the COVID-19 digital certificate,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, suggesting that the controversial certificate could be a model for a broader digital ID. “The EU developed it for itself. The model was so functional and so trusted that 51 countries on four continents adopted it for free.”

“The future is digital,” she added. “I passed two messages to the G20. We should establish a framework for safe, responsible AI, with a similar body as the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] for climate. Digital public infrastructures are an accelerator of growth. They must be trusted, interoperable & open to all.”

The India Stack DPI (digital public infrastructure) system, which integrates both identification and payment functions, was also cited as a model.

“The India Stack exemplifies this approach, combining digital ID, interoperable payments, a digital credentials ledger, and account aggregation,” said the Netherlands’ Queen Maxima, who also serves as the United Nations secretary-general’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development. “In just six years, it has achieved a remarkable 80 percent financial inclusion rate – a feat that would have taken nearly five decades without a DPI approach.”

The prospects of central bank digital currency and centralized digital identification are touted as great advancements for personal convenience, security, and reliability, but carry great risk for personal freedom. Critics warn that such systems could be used to more easily track or restrict individuals’ movements, invade their privacy, and limit their economic choices, eventually with the potential to even make the ability to pay for anything contingent on compliance with new government standards.

Such a future is currently being explored by the Biden administration, which earlier this year ordered a study on the feasibility of switching to a digital dollar, even as the concept is being abandoned by other countries that have considered it, including Japan, Denmark, and Nigeria. Only 16 percent of Americans favor adoption of a CBDC, according to a May survey by the libertarian Cato Institute.

In the field of Republicans currently competing for the nomination to challenge Biden for the presidency in 2024, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has taken the strongest stand against CBDCs. In May, he signed legislation to ban “the use of a federally adopted central bank digital currency (CBDC) by excluding it from the definition of money within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code” and “foreign-issued CBDC to protect consumers against globalist efforts to adopt a worldwide digital currency.”

In July, he declared that “if I am the president, on day one we will nix central bank digital currency. Done. Dead. Not happening in this country […] the minute you give them the power to do this they are going to impose a social credit system on this country. CBDC is a massive threat to American liberty.”

Businessman and fellow GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has also panned CBDCs, calling them a “good path to get us to be more like China,” and “not a good way for the U.S. to go in terms of being a surveillance state.”