One of the objections we often hear to the Constitutional Tender Act is that it would force the States and their citizens to "buy silver and gold coins" and carry them around in their pockets all of the time. The only way to believe this, is if you believe that you have to "buy Federal Reserve Notes" and carry around hundreds or thousands of dollars in order to buy groceries, pay car payments, pay mortgages, etc.
Of course, you don't. You can use your debit card to pay almost anything nowadays. Bank computer programs automatically compute debits and credits; they can even automatically convert the cost of items from foreign currency to domestic currency, based on whatever the current market exchange rate is.
That's exactly what can be done by the banks under the Constitutional Tender Act's conversion formulas, as this story about getting gold and silver coins from ATMs in China proves. The unfortunate part of this story is that it falls into the modern trap of thinking that exchanging one form of currency -- fiat printed money -- for another form of currency -- gold and silver coins -- is the same as "buying gold or silver coins". If you go into a bank and exchange four $5 Federal Reserve Notes for a $20 Federal Reserve Note, did you just "buy an FRN"?
Of course not. If you exchange $25USD (U.S. Dollar) for $1SAE (Silver American Eagle), you aren't buying a once-ounce silver coin, you're exchanging American legal tender currency. And all you're doing at these Chinese ATMs is exchanging ¥268CNY (Chinese Yuan) for ¥10SP (Chinese Silver Panda) or other denominations -- you're not buying one-ounce silver coins, etc.
Regardless, this story once more shows how the ConTen Act could easily be implemented.
People in Beijing can now buy gold or silver coins at ATMs after the
Beijing-based Hua Xia Bank introduced five of the machines earlier this
month, according to Hong Kong's We Wei Po.
The bank installed the five machines at its branches across the city
in Xidan, Fangzhuang, Zhongguancun, Dongdan and on Qingnian Road.
A single 1-oz panda silver coin priced at 268 yuan (US$40) is the
cheapest item available, while the panda gold coin set is the most
expensive at 23,800 yuan (US$3,800).
Buyers can purchase the coins using their bank cards. After they
place their orders using the machine's touchscreen, their payments are
verified through bank card organization China UnionPay and they can pick
up their purchased items through the opening on the lower part of the
If they want to purchase more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,200) worth of
items, they will first need to place their ID cards on the machine's
sensor to verify their identity before the order can be placed, Wen Wei
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