Is the end of cash coming?

Today, countries such as Sweden and China are almost no longer using cash, but are making electronic transactions to pay

Will the money be extinguished in cash?

Over a decade ago, imagining a society without cash was only a privilege of science fiction films. However, in recent years this idea, strange for many, has taken more and more acceptance in different countries. Sweden is the clearest example of this. There, the cash is literally disappearing and society seems to accept it without inconvenience.

Leer en español: ¿Es el fin del dinero en efectivo?

According to government statistics, 93% of the transactions carried out in that nation are electronic. These are executed by mobile devices or applications such as Swish, which allows the transfer of minimal sums of money at low cost.

As El País reports, this same model is being applied effectively and on a large scale in China, India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Bangladesh, countries that through the use of their own applications endorsed by the government, intend to record and track each economic movement.

Order or surveillance?

For governments and banking institutions, the substitution of the cash for digital transactions represents an important advance in terms of economic protection. Under this system, evading taxes, laundering money, trafficking drugs or financing terrorist groups becomes a much more complex mission than before.

Although this objective represents protection and apparent security for citizens, in the same way, it may involve risks. Actions as simple as paying for a lunch, buying a train ticket or taking water out of a vending machine in Sweden can become a more complex task than you think if you only have cash in your pockets.

The cash loses more and more validity and becomes obsolete next to sophisticated technological systems, whose control is an illusion. Tools like Swish aim to guarantee transparency in every economic exchange carried out in society, regardless of their volume. However, using them is to leave a fingerprint that can be tracked and monitored by authorized control entities.

For some specialists, and as the renowned journalist and researcher David Estulin mentions in his books, these mechanisms represent one of the most precise and best sold social control weapons available to citizens. This is because each individual "autonomously" decides to cede control of their money to replace it with intangible digits, it is only visible only on a screen. 

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While such transactional developments represent a certain order in society, they also become the golden opportunity for skilled hackers who manage to track the monetary fingerprint, enter accounts and transfer funds to other owners in just seconds. The kind of challenges that still challenge both hackers and banking entities that try to protect themselves from them.

Zcash: the cash of the 21st century?

Under the same concept of the already widely known cryptocurrencies the Zcash was born. This is a virtual currency that aims to do everything that cash does, but digitally, clandestinely and absolutely anonymously. The Zcash can be considered the total opposite of applications like Swish.

While Swish can track each transaction, the Zcash through complex cryptography systems, even powerful than those of Bitcoin, guarantees absolute anonymity in every transfer made.

Under this model, in the same way that a person receives cash without knowing its origin, or how many people had it before in their hands, or for what was used in past commercial exchanges, the Zcash replicates it but digitally. A channel that of course is useful for the traffickers and makes governments tremble.

The panorama of a world without cash is increasingly real and several countries are beginning to show it. The practicality and apparent security that justify these models makes individuals give control of their money to applications and electronic systems that in seconds move numerous amounts from one owner to another.

Maybe in a few years, the wallets with the tickets will be only museum exhibition and our money simple digits drawn on small screens, vulnerable to disappear with just one click.


LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Translated from "¿Se extinguirá el dinero en efectivo?"

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