In 2020 we were witness to a lot of insane and convoluted stuff. Wildfires, potential wars, a global pandemic. It is definitely a year for the history books. And another thing that grew exponentially during this troubling time was conspiracy theories.
This article isn’t about conspiracy theories. But there is one aspect of a major theory I want to look at in relation to its economic and social implications. And that idea is how we are moving ever closer to being a cashless society.
What Does This Mean
What is a cashless society? It is as simple as it sounds. A world without cold, hard cash. This doesn’t mean the money wouldn’t exist anymore. All it means is the physical cash we use to purchase goods and services would cease to exist, save for a few relics.
All our money would move to a digital front, as most of it is at the moment. Debit and credit cards would be the new cash. The money would never be held in our hands, simply sent between our banks. But how did this come about? And what are the implications of it?
The Crypto Age
One of the biggest changes in the global economy that is pushing us towards a cashless world was the introduction of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin paved the way for a new way of looking at finances and money. The big difference was that Cryptocurrencies are not backed by any central authority. There is a finite amount of Bitcoin meaning it is a stable and secure form of currency. But many people worry over the fact you cannot hold bitcoin.
Since its inception, Bitcoin has spurred on a new wave of cryptocurrencies. We are slowly seeing companies and people start trading and spending in these currencies. In a way, it is unifying the world under one form of currency.
But what does this mean for the world at large? Firstly, the introduction of cryptocurrencies is slowly getting rid of the need for currency exchange. A lot of people can now simply built up a wallet of this currency and spend it globally. And if this trend continues we could see national currencies vanish altogether.
A lot of conspiracy theorists are worried that going cashless will give governments and banks too much power. If they can control all our money they can control us. But this sentiment is flawed and dangerous.
No matter what form our money is in, banks and governments are going to have more power over us. This is due to the world system we have built. But, in reality, cryptocurrencies are actually giving power back to the people, rather than the banks. With no central authority having control over them, no bank or government can control someone through their wallet.
Some people worry about how it will affect loan businesses. Right now in florida getting a title loan is convenient and simple. But there have been growing concerns that a cashless society will also shut down loans such as this. But, again, this claim is baseless and incorrect. The chances are nothing will change dramatically if we made the switch to a cashless world.
But, as with anything, there are some dangers we need to be considerate of. Firstly, a purely digital form of currency is going to be more susceptible to cyber-attacks. Cash in your home can’t be accessed by someone abroad. But cash stored online could. Not to mention there is the growing fear that a nation will soon perfect EMP technology and could launch a devastating attack on the USA, which would render a lot of digital currencies obsolete.
But our national security is strong. Chances that any of these threats will come to pass is unlikely. There are dangers with any form of currency, no matter if it is digital or paper.
What do you think? Do you welcome a cashless society, where all our money is stored as 1’s and 0’s? Or do you long for the good old days of cold hard cash and counting pennies down the arcade.