If Fiat Is No Longer King, Does That Make Cryptocurrency the New Cash of a Cashless Future?
For a long time now, cash has been viewed as one of the old forms of money, and the movement to replace it within the most developed countries has started long before cryptos were even conceived. At first, it started with various cards, and after smartphones and similar smart devices emerged, the possibility of making payments with apps became a reality as well.
While this is nothing new for developed nations, there are still some consequences of shifting towards a world without cash.
Problems Of The Cashless Society
The most recent example of issues that might bother a cashless society came on June 1st of this year. On this day, a lot of people in the UK discovered that their VISA cards do not function anymore. Just like that, the piece of plastic that provides people with endless possibilities became useless. This, of course, caused a major disruption, despite the fact that the incident only lasted for several hours.
However, this was enough to remind western civilizations, especially those who do not bother to carry cash on their person, that there are some downsides in having all of your money in form of information. While they can be forgiven for viewing the world like this due to sheer convenience (when everything works properly), the fact is that everyone was left penniless during those few hours.
However, the cash-free way of life continues, and many believe that it is becoming more and more popular. New York, for example, has grown to be so cash-free in the last several years, that there are entire cash-free establishments in it. Customers cannot pay with cash in these locations, and instead, only things such as cards or apps can be used for paying for goods and services.
The appearance of such places alarmed several lawmakers, especially New York City council member, Ritchie, J. Torres. Torres believes that there is a risk of being considered a second-rate citizen if you “dare” to try paying for goods and services in cash. While this has not yet come to pass, critics warn that it is a real possibility that it might.
Social Issues With The Cashless Trend
Eliminating cash is a new trend that comes from our desire to achieve the maximum level of convenience. Without cash, people would not have to wait for the person in front of them to pay for items with the right amount of change, stores would not have to take their daily earnings to banks in fear of being robbed. There are many examples where eliminating cash is a useful, practical, and smart thing to do.
Even so, there are side effects that might introduce big changes for the worse in the entire society. There are already countless members of society that are marginalized for one reason or another, and not capable of accessing devices that are necessary for leading a cashless life. Those who cannot afford clothes or food can hardly buy a smartphone to download a payment app. As such, the poor, distrusted minorities, and those with a bad reputation will be forced out.
Cash was universal money for a long time, and everyone has been using it. This is why Torres believes that card-only policies should be proclaimed unlawful.
Not to mention the fact that all payments and transactions can be traceable, which eliminates users' privacy. As such, those considered “undesirable” and “unwelcome” could be rejected, while everyone would be monitored.
If governments had this kind of power, they might choose to control individuals, or even entire groups, by freezing their funds in case anyone breaks the rules. With cash, this is impossible. With cards and apps alone, it would become easy.
Are Cryptocurrencies The Key?
For as long as they existed, cryptocurrencies called themselves electronic cash, and this is no coincidence. While they do have numerous similarities with cards and electronic payment systems in general, they actually have much more in common with cash. They are nondiscriminatory, fungible, and it is impossible for anyone to freeze them in order to punish an individual for whatever reason.
No matter who holds them, they always have the same value, and no bank account or credit history is necessary to own them. Furthermore, no bank can control them. Cryptocurrencies are the new form of cash — a combination of traditional paper money and electronic systems. They took the best of both worlds and created digital cash, which cannot be controlled by the authorities, and it is still practical and useful.
Cryptocurrencies are still young and mostly mistrusted, but experts believe that there will come a day when they will exchange both of the older payment methods. While this day might not come anytime soon, there is almost a universal opinion that makes cryptocurrencies the cash of the future.