Today, it’s hard for us to imagine a world without money, but it hasn’t always been so. In fact, our ancestors managed just fine without it, by bartering their goods instead. Bartering has been the go-to method of trading for thousands of years, all the way to the 6th century BC when the first minted coins were introduced in Anatolia. Unlike today’s coins, which are made out of base metals such as nickel and copper, these were made purely out of precious metals. They were finally replaced by paper money around the 17th century and that has been the favored currency ever since. Yet, seeing how we now live in a digital age, it’s only logical to assume we’ll switch to some form of digital currency in the near future. After all, technology has always been the driving force behind the use of currencies in the past, so why should now be any different?
A cashless society
Since the invention of the first credit card in 1946, people have been less reliant on cash than ever before. Don’t believe me? Just go take a look at your local store and you’ll almost certainly find someone purchasing their goods without cash. This is because the whole process is a lot faster and involves less hassle to begin with. Consequently, Amazon got the hint and opened up a fully automated shopping experience for their customers in January this year. In Amazon Go stores, there’s literally no cash involved and the only thing that you actually need to purchase your goods is your smartphone. On it, you download an app which bills you the receipt and you just walk out of the store as sophisticated camera technology does the rest. Similarly, this payment system is also used by contactless wristbands that enable you to purchase goods without the need to carry a wallet around with you. This means you can casually go for a swim when you’re at the beach or jump around in a crowded concert without having to worry about your wallet. So, how can cash even compete when we have such high-tech digital payment systems nowadays?
Well, judging by the sudden rise in popularity of various cryptocurrencies, it seems like it’s only a matter of time. By now, probably everyone has heard of Bitcoin at least, the most popular one, but there are in fact over 1300 of them out there at the moment and the number is rising. This is due to the market being relatively young and therefore it’s still in a state of expansion. In addition, trading with cryptocurrencies is also fairly easy and the whole process is done online. Let’s say you’re interested in getting your hands on some cryptocurrencies, for example you want to buy dash, then all you have to do is register on a trading platform, conduct your trade from there, and, voila, you acquired your first cryptocurrency. What’s more, millennials, being the most tech-savvy generation of today, look to cryptocurrencies the most. No surprises there, seeing as how they were grew up in a period of increased economic instability, culminating with the 2008 financial crisis, where they lost faith in the banking system, and government as a whole. For this reason, cryptocurrencies are the obvious choice as they offer a more decentralized, free market, alternative to fiat money. No doubt we’ll see more of these in the future, but for the time being, there remains a feeling of skepticism as some older generations still need convincing because the idea of digitalized money sounds absurd to them. If you want to stay in trend with the new cryptocurrencies, find a reputable source such as Blockchain Review.
If in the near future physical money does get replaced by its digital counterpart, there will be new difficulties and security issues regarding its safekeeping. It’s nothing new really, safeguarding money was always troublesome. Only today, your medieval Robin Hood is replaced with a modern cyber-hood that has his eyes fixed on your bank account. However, there might actually be a solution to these increasing cyber attacks, and that is reflected in the latest blockchain technology; the same technology that is used for storing cryptocurrencies today. You see, blockchain stores data in a public ledger in the form of interlinked blocks which cannot be deleted individually without previously removing the whole chain. Moreover, it uses a decentralized system, which means it doesn’t have a single central hub hackers can exploit and break into. Also, the data is secured by using cryptography, so holding records of any kind, not just money, should be a lot safer. Mind you, this technology is still relatively new and we’ll have to see what the future has in store for it. Yet, considering that it took Linux a few years to catch on and become the leading platform for developing apps, there’s still a lot of potential in store for blockchain.
To sum up, the future is already here, we just haven’t realized it yet. Digital payments, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology are already changing the way we see money, but cash is still king, for now.