A Cashless Society trades using electronic ID (RFID)
Ultimately this will be the ‘mark of the beast’ in Bible prophecy. Will Christians escape?
“In a cashless society, every purchase a citizen makes is authorised and recorded by a privately run commercial bank, giving it a transaction-by-transaction history of your entire commercial life” [ The Guardian ] . . . “The inability to withdraw cash from the financial system would give governments and banks greater control of the economy” [ Future Branches ] . . . “In China the goal [of a cashless society] is for the government to have access to all information on individuals, pressure groups, businesses, and organisations” [ Storm2 ]
Covid-19 has greatly accelerated to use of cashless payment using “smart cards”. Often the card PIN is not required and payment can be “contactless” (a clear advantage in a pandemic). Contactless payment uses the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology of the smart card, allowing encrypted data to be passed between the card and the card reader placed a few inches away.
Although RFID smart cards are secure through the use of data encryption, they can still be lost or stolen. A way to circumvent this is to associate payment with a person’s physical characteristics (Biometrics). For example, contactless biometric payment in a store could be based upon a combination of face and iris recognition.
But biometric recognition itself is prone to error (faces change), and a method of identifying a person solely by a unique ID on their person e.g. an ‘RFID tattoo’ on the hand appears to be the ultimate payment method. The Bible warns against taking this “mark” on the hand or forehead. Those who do will anger God!
The Start of the Cashless Society:
Magnetic Cards and Smart Cards
During much of the 20th century man still traded using coins, just like the Romans! But the 1980’s saw the early forms of cashless or electronic trading with the introduction of magnetic-stripe cards. This period saw the development of debit-based transactions using Electronic Funds Transfer (at) Point of Sale (EFTPOS). Even then it was foreseen that smartcards (cards with an embedded chip) would replace the simple magnetic-stripe card, and today ‘Chip and PIN’ cards are widespread. The cashless society is born!
Card payments have now overtaken cheque and cash payments. In 2017 just 30% of all payments in America were by cash, link, and it is predicted that only 10% of UK transactions will use cash by 2030, link.
Another step towards the cashless society
Cards can be lost or stolen and a way of avoiding this is to link a person’s identity to their physical characteristics (Biometrics). Biometric authentication compares data for the person’s characteristics to that person’s biometric “template” or “reference model” to determine resemblance.
This is a very significant step towards the biblical ‘mark of the beast’, whereby the identity (ID) of an individual is associated with the individual themselves. Favoured biometric techniques use fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, voice recognition and iris recognition.
Iris scans analyse the features in the coloured tissue surrounding the pupil. It is claimed that because the iris is a protected internal organ whose random texture is complex, unique, and very stable throughout life, it can serve as a kind of living passport.
Biometrics in the USA
At the Department of Homeland Security, biometrics are used to detect and prevent illegal entry into the U.S. The United States military has been collecting faces, irises, fingerprints, and DNA data in a biometric identification system since January 2009.
Biometrics in the UK
Facial recognition technology has been developed with the new generation of chip-enabled biometric passports, and airline passengers will increasingly use their face as their identity at the airport. London’s Heathrow Airport is deploying biometric facial recognition technology to allow travellers to check in and board their flights without showing a passport or boarding pass. In 2019 this was described as “the biggest single deployment of biometric technology in the world” [The Times].
Biometrics in India
A unique identification system known as Aadhaar aims to gather biometric information of the country’s 1.3 billion residents. It is operated by the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI.
The 12-digit UIDAI number is stored in a centralised database and is based upon an individual’s demographic attributes (name, gender, age and address) and their biometric information – photograph, fingerprints and iris pattern. The Aadhaar online identity platform then enables an individual to claim government benefits and services, and access services like banking and mobile phone connections. Whilst the UIDAI is voluntary, clearly, life without it will be difficult!
Biometrics in Estonia
Estonia’s ground-breaking Smart-ID becomes the first electronic ID service to include biometric authentication certified to the highest EU standard. Their digital ID verification platform can be used for both government and private sector databases, and may be replicated by other countries.
Whilst the biometrics market is projected to be worth over USD 50 billion by 2025, link, biometrics is not without its problems. It is not 100% accurate.
Take facial recognition technology. It uses a complex algorithm that recognises each person’s unique facial characteristics, but appearances can often change [Aviation Business News]. The use of several biometric features in combination e.g. the face and the iris, or the iris and fingerprints, gives reduced (but still finite) error rates.
Clearly, a method of identifying each person solely by their unique number will be less prone to error.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)
A major step towards the cashless society
RFID is all around us: it is found in supermarkets, general retailers, electronic road tolls, company badges, farming, and in your pet dog. You use it when you use your smart card for contactless “tap and go” payment in a supermarket, link.
How it Works
A scanner e.g. a card reader emits a short-range radio-frequency signal which is picked up by a small local RFID device. This could be your RFID smart card, or an implantable RFID tag about the size of a grain of rice. The passive receiving device is energised by the scanning radiation, thereby enabling two-way data communication (usually encrypted) between the scanner and the local device. Since it is a radio system it operates on specified frequencies e.g. 13.56 MHz, link, link.
Application of RFID to Humans
In supermarkets, item-level deployment of RFID technology allows for quick checkout aisles that scan all products at once and thus eliminate queues. But the sinister application of RFID lies in its application to humans.
In 2004 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its approval to Applied Digital Solutions to sell their VeriChip RFID tags for implantation into patients in hospitals. The intent was to provide immediate positive identification of patients both in hospitals and in emergencies. Tags would not contain medical data, but instead store (and transmit when energised) a unique 16-bit ID number that would be used to access records on a remote database. The tag was to be implanted in the fatty tissue of the upper arm.
Similar technology can be in the form of a GPS trackable implant – an idea attractive to Japanese authorities for tagging and protecting school children. Others find the idea of an implant useful as an access mechanism instead of swipe cards.
Current technology uses implantable RFID chips. These low-cost chips (the size of a grain of rice or smaller) are used to tag animals, and now humans. For humans a good place to implant the device is in the hand – see right hand implant.
As mentioned, an early example of this technology was ‘VeriChip’ from Applied Digital Solutions. Its manufacture and marketing was discontinued in 2010, possibly for technological reasons (the ability to remotely scan personal data could be a security risk) and for civil liberty reasons. There are also possible health risks e.g. cancer:
And a severe and malignant sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beastRevelation 16:2
But human implantable devices are still in development, particularly for medical applications. For example, the ‘GlucoChip’ from Positive ID Corporation is an implantable, bio-sensing RFID microchip that measures glucose levels in the body in real time (see Implantable Glucose Sensor).
The following video reveals the truth about the RFID chip. It (or more probably its technological successor for marking the skin – see later), is the ultimate people control mechanism needed by the emerging World Government:
666: the Biblical Mark & YOU
Clearly, there is only a short technological step to the full 666 system (Revelation 13:18) as implemented in ‘the mark of Revelation’, see Implanted Humans. The Bible predicts electronic i.e. cashless trading:
And he causes all … to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead … and no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the markRevelation 13:16-17, NASB, NKJV, emphasis added
Some question whether the mark of Revelation 13 verse 16 is “in” or “on” the hand or forehead. Clearly, this could have a bearing upon the final technology employed. The Greek word in question is “epi” and is normally translated “on”, link, link. An exception is the KJV. Note that the English word “epidermis” means upon the skin. So the mark of Revelation might include a form of tattoo on the skin.
Surface RFID: The ultimate technology for the cashless society?
It is interesting that RFID technology is now being developed for application to human skin. Antennas for RFID tags can be tattooed directly onto the skin’s surface, link, link, link (pdf download). This form of surface technology appears to align better with Bible prophecy than an implantable device.
God’s Warning to Deluded Mankind
There are many claimed advantages of such a personal ID: safer financial transactions, more convenient ‘buying and selling’, automated access to buildings and medical records etc. Most people will accept the ‘mark’ and the associated New World Order, but the Bible says they will believe a lie:
God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie … (because) they did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
More significantly, Bible prophecy warns against accepting the mark:
If anyone worships the beast and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand he will also drink of the wine of the wrath of God …Revelation 14:9-10
When is the Mark Implemented?
It is clear that COVID-19 has given a huge boost to the cashless society, as for example in ‘tap and go’. With this technology no cash or machine is physically handled (minimising virus transmission) and transactions are quick and easy. And the use of the the QR (quick response) code for transactions is now widespread. China, Sweden, Finland and Estonia already strongly encourage cashless trading and this trend seems inevitable:
The longer the pandemic will last, the more cashless-friendly the societies will become. COVID-19 has changed people’s behaviour and this change is likely to be permanent.The Financial Times (FT), 2021
The downside is total loss of privacy for the individual (the State can now monitor their transactions) and the difficulty it causes for the elderly and those without bank accounts.
Banks are now planning Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC’s) with the objective of eliminating cash. This digital ID would include a person’s vaccine status, and would be required for access to bank accounts, social media and internet use. It would also monitor a person’s ‘ESG score’ (environmental, social and governance factors). This would monitor a person’s use of energy, with the power to cut off those who use too much.
Clearly, enforced digital ID is a step closer to the mark of Revelation 13.
What does the Bible say?
Despite the acceleration to the cashless society, the point in time at which the personal mark will be introduced is not clear from prophecy.
However, it is quite possible that true believers in Jesus Christ will not have to take the mark. Prophecy suggests that the true church will be “taken” (raptured) to meet Christ in the clouds before the mark is forced upon mankind. Jesus said it will be like the removal of Noah from the sinful world before the Flood, or the taking out of Lot before the judgement of sinful Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:26-36).
Looked at from a Jewish perspective, some align the rapture with the Feast of Trumpets celebrated by devote Jews.
Either way, the rapid technological advance and the imminence of the mark also points to the imminent end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ.