Welcome to our Friday mailbag edition!

Every week, we receive great questions from your fellow readers. And every Friday, I answer as many as I can.

This week, the conversation continues around popular Inside Wall Street topics – the all-digital dollar that’s coming and the Fed…

If everything will be programmable in the future, even if you have millions, how does that not stop them from stopping you from operating outside their control?

For instance, could they stop your access to your brokerage account? Or stop access to your internet or electricity to your house so you couldn’t do anything? This is a very worrying scenario.

– Sandra K.

Hi, Sandra. Thanks for your thoughts and questions.

I’m as concerned as you are about maintaining our freedoms as the government rolls out a programmable, all-digital currency.

The good news is that I don’t think the government will be able to cut off your internet or electricity, even as it rolls out a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

That would be extreme. It would require a social credit system even worse than the one they have in China. Luckily, we’re nowhere near that territory.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to worry about, though.

The loss of freedom in a democracy doesn’t tend to happen overnight. It’s a slow, creeping process.

And that’s what makes it so dangerous. It can catch you off guard.

CBDCs are at the forefront of this encroachment today. Which is why I’ve been sounding the alarm about them since we started Inside Wall Street in 2021.

With a digital dollar, it will be easier for the government to track your financial information and choices. Anyone who cares about their financial privacy needs to pay attention to that.

It will also give the government more power to compile data on how and where we spend our money. That would take away what little freedom we have left to decide what personal information we share and what we keep private.

And, as you suggest, a CBDC could even be programmed so that you can only spend it if you meet certain requirements.

That means that if you do something the government doesn’t like, it could limit your financial choices. Or even worse, at the push of a button, it could turn off your ability to transact.

This isn’t just speculation. It happened in Canada in 2022 when the government froze hundreds of bank accounts connected to protesters.

A CBDC would make it even easier for the government to crack down on people who speak out against it.

Now, in the U.S., the Federal Reserve can’t flip a switch and mandate exclusive CBDC use. It’s just like any other encroachment on our liberties. It happens in steps.

Even Fed chief Jerome Powell said the Fed would “need Congressional approval” for a CBDC when he testified before the House Financial Services Committee last March.

That doesn’t mean the Fed can’t create a digital currency without Congress. It can. But not without creating friction down the road.

The Fed doesn’t want to get on Congress’ bad side. So, before any CBDC bill can become law, it has to go through several steps of approval. The U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and then the president all need to approve it.

That means implementing a CBDC in America won’t happen overnight. But it is happening.

The Fed got a step closer to that last summer when it launched its FedNow payments system.

FedNow isn’t a CBDC but a necessary precursor for one. The FedNow technology gives the elites new powers to track every dollar you spend.

FedNow is a payroll system. It basically allows the Fed to transact with companies and banks. More than 400 organizations are already involved.

There are some big names on that list – like Wells Fargo, BNY Mellon, and Visa. (You can read the current list in full here.)

And there are plenty of reasons for other institutions to follow. Like faster, more efficient fund transfers and better liquidity management.

If institutions see those benefits lining up with their business goals, and if FedNow can give them a competitive edge, they will join it.

The good news for readers is that, as the government rolls out a CBDC, it is possible to capitalize on it.

That’s why I tell all my readers they should take steps now to diversify their portfolio. Because anyone who’s worried about a CBDC needs to own the right assets to safeguard their wealth.

I’m a big advocate of gold and Bitcoin for that purpose. Both provide a way for us to become our own bankers with assets that are primed to grow in value over time as this encroachment unfolds.

In fact, Bitcoin is up about 60% since I recommended it at my Distortion Report advisory last May.

And gold, in particular, is the ultimate form of wealth insurance. It has preserved its value through every kind of crisis imaginable. Catch up on some of my top tips for buying physical gold right here.

From what I have read, the Federal Reserve is actually a private bank, with the stock held by the families of the six financiers who were there at the creation and helped create it.

The statute creating the Fed forbids the release of this information, as I understand it. Could you please confirm these items?

– James A.

Hi, James. Thanks for writing in. There’s so much mystery surrounding the Fed. And there’s a lot of confusing information out there.

Here’s the scoop…

According to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, each of the 12 regional reserve banks of the Federal Reserve system is owned by its member banks.

What that means is that the banks in each region are shareholders of their own part of the Federal Reserve system.

When the Fed first started, these banks put up the capital to get and keep their respective regional reserve banks operating. In return, they received stock in their Fed.

In that way, they are shareholders of the Fed. And the Fed is organized like a private corporation.

However, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors is appointed by the president and approved by Congress. So, in that way, there’s a political tie to the government.

There’s nothing in the Federal Reserve Act that prohibits the Fed from disclosing the names of their shareholder banks, how many shares each owns, or how much their shares are worth.

However, there’s also nothing requiring that disclosure. When I was researching my book, All the Presidents’ Bankers, the last report I found on that was issued in 1941. It was created by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. But it isn’t available online anywhere.

By the way, a few months ago, I shared an excerpt from my 2014 book, All the Presidents’ Bankers,about the creation of the Federal Reserve.

It shows how wealthy Wall Street bankers pushed the White House to create America’s central bank, the Fed. If you missed it, and for readers who joined us recently, here it is again.

I think all the Goldman Sachs executives in the federal government are crooks. Nothing has changed. If the U.S. had an atomic attack, only cockroaches and Goldman Sachs would survive.

– David R.

Hi David, the term “crooks” is probably too strong a word.

But my former employer, Goldman Sachs, certainly serves as a feeder pool for some of the plum jobs in Washington.

It has produced more Treasury secretaries than any other Wall Street bank.

It has also produced key presidential advisors, starting in the 1930s with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Publicly, FDR was considered a “traitor” to the Wall Street class. But in fact, it was largely because of Wall Street money that he got elected, first as the governor of New York and then as president.

Goldman Sachs’ head, Sidney Weinberg, helped gather political donations for FDR’s campaign. He was the first man to lead the business council that Roosevelt established.

This was a liaison between Washington and the business community. Throughout the years, Weinberg advised several presidents.

More recently, former Goldman Sachs vice chairman Robert Rubin was President Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary.

Former Goldman Sachs chairman Hank Paulson was President George W. Bush’s Treasury secretary.

And former Goldman Sachs partner, Steven Mnuchin, served as President Trump’s Treasury secretary.

It doesn’t matter whether they, or the presidents they served, were Democrats or Republicans. The influence of Wall Street on Washington transcends these political party distinctions. And it has done for years.

The alliances between those in power and the financial world is a topic I am fascinated by.

I researched and wrote about it extensively in All the Presidents’ Bankers.

And I shared an excerpt on this, too, specifically about the rise of the Goldman gang to political power. You can read it here.

And that’s all for this week’s mailbag. Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

If I didn’t get to your question this week, look out for my response in a future Friday mailbag edition.

I do my best to respond to as many of your questions and comments as I can. Just remember, I can’t give personal investment advice.

And if there are any other topics you’d like me to write about, I’d love to hear from you. You can write me at [email protected].

In the meantime, happy investing… and have a fantastic weekend!



Nomi Prins
Editor, Inside Wall Street with Nomi Prins