Humans have been using some form of cash for thousands of years. In fact, most historians agree that written records don’t go back far enough to accurately convey how long physical money has been present. Its usage stretches back to the Neolithic farming days and perhaps even further. Since then, imagining a world without cash has been impossible.
Or has it? The 21st century has already ushered in various forms of digital transactions that don’t require traditional cash to function. People can enjoy anything from gambling games to online shopping via services such as cryptocurrencies or e-wallets.
There’s no doubt that traditional forms of money will be obsolete in the next few decades. New technology is consistently providing new and exciting alternatives, with cash usage already declining significantly compared to the 20th century. But what does a cashless future really mean? Keep reading to find out.
Cash: a long and fascinating history
Cash has been an essential part of society for so long that its history is often overlooked. The earliest forms of currency were natural objects such as shells or stones. Cowrie shells, used since 12000BC, are some of the earliest examples. Nobody is entirely sure when metal coinage was first invented, although the signs point towards Babylon before 2000BC.
However, state-regulated coins didn’t appear until around 700BC. The Lydian kingdom is widely regarded as the first civilization to issue standardized coins from a central banking institution. Paper money has its origins as far back as AD1000, when Chinese innovations led to bank notes. These weren’t as widespread in the early days, with coinage preferred until the early 20th century.
Cash is still used in countless countries nowadays, but the Western world, in particular, relies far more on card and digital transactions. The UK recently overhauled its paper money system, creating a new set of synthetic notes resistant to moisture and ripping.
The trend towards digital payments: where are we at in 2022?
Cash certainly isn’t what it once was. Most people in North America and Europe now rely on digital payments rather than traditional paper or coin money. To put things into perspective, the total transaction value is forecast to hit $8.49tn by the end of 2022, perfectly demonstrating the healthy state of the industry.
Services such as PayPal and widespread online banking have been instrumental in reducing the need for physical cash. Moreover, the rise of e-commerce and online shopping has further diminished the need for physical money. Recent innovations like Apple Pay and Google Pay have taken things to a whole new level, enabling people to pay for pretty much everything with just their mobile phone. Additionally, the rise of crypto wallets have made paying for services with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies much more accessible.
Cryptocurrency: does this technology hold the key for a cashless future?
Cryptocurrency technology has generated several instrumental benefits since bitcoin’s launch in 2009, providing a new impetus toward a cashless future. Platforms such as Metaspins Bitcoin online casino are increasing accessibility among players in so many countries. Regardless of where a user is based, all they need is a crypto wallet to start enjoying various online casino options.
Learning how to set up a basic crypto wallet is extremely straightforward nowadays, so this cashless payment method is accessible no matter who or where you are.
The main selling point of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum is their decentralized nature. In an age where banks are increasingly under scrutiny, many people are craving a financial experience with no overriding owner or institution. Cryptos also offer anonymous and speedy payments – two more important perks of using them.
Incentives for a world without cash
What are some of the incentives for a world without cash? The naysayers will argue that there was no problem with the traditional payment method, so why should we change? Well, technology has far outgrown the simplicity of using paper money or coins. A cashless future will be significantly more convenient, as evidenced by the impact of services like PayPal or Apple Pay.
A world without cash means no more worrying about having a wallet and no more counting change. It will also improve economic performance by stopping small cash denominations from slipping through the cracks.
Going cashless: the drawbacks
While there are several significant positives to a cashless future, we mustn’t forget about the drawbacks. A lack of traditional money will potentially alienate the older generations, especially if they aren’t very technologically proficient.
This is arguably the main hurdle to negotiate but there are other concerns. Most importantly, what would happen if the online systems that make online payments possible suddenly malfunction?