Swiss citizens will have a chance to try to ensure their economy never goes cashless, a pressure group said, after collecting enough signatures on Monday to trigger a popular vote on the issue.

The FBS (Free Switzerland Movement) says that cash plays an increasingly smaller role in many economies, as electronic payments become the standard for transactions in increasingly digitized societies, making it easier for the state to control the actions of its citizens.

It wants to add a clause to the Swiss currency Act, which regulates how the central bank and the government manage the money supply, stating that there must always be a “sufficient amount” of banknotes or coins in circulation.

There is no evidence that the Swiss authorities are aiming for a cashless society.

FBS said it had collected more than 111,000 signatures in support of the measure, more than the 100,000 needed for a plebiscite. Under the Swiss system of direct democracy, the proposal becomes law if voters approve it, but the government and Parliament decide how that law is implemented.

“It is clear that … abolishing cash not only touches on issues of transparency, simplicity or security … but also carries a huge danger of totalitarian surveillance, ” said FBS Chairman Richard Koller on the group’s website.

He also sees Switzerland as a European standard-bearer for the defense of cash, since pushing through such guarantees in the European Union would entail the “almost impossible” process of obtaining approval from all 27 member states.

Accelerated by the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, the trend towards more cashless payments was already evident in 2017, when an Ipsos survey found that more than a third of Europeans and Americans would like to go cashless and 20% already almost did.

About the author: Nick Schramm

Nick Schramm is tech savvy with strong engineering education behind. His interest in sciences helps the whole WeeklyNewsReview stuff to keep informed about various topics of the modern technology.

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