Like many futuristic concepts, a world without cash has long been predicted and prophesized—but it hasn’t come to pass yet. As we grow more and more technologically advanced, though, we inch ever closer to a day when cash will no longer be our currency. It’s prevalent now, but who can say for how long?
While there are some benefits to having physical currency (like anonymity, wide acceptance and non-reliance on technology), some powerful fronts are arguing that its deficiencies far outweigh the benefits at this point.
A world without cash would take away cash-related crimes, like robbing a convenience store for the money in the till or buying items on the black market with a briefcase of money. Of course, with a complete shift to digital currency would come a whole different set of crimes and costs, some of which we are already facing today (think identity theft and online fraud).
But digital currency is slowly and surely moving toward the center, edging out cash. People can now manage their bank accounts online from their computers, laptops, or even cell phones. It’s rare that we even have to make a trip to the ATM for cash because there are few establishments and services that remain “cash only” these days; on the contrary, most bills and large sums must now be paid for electronically.
Someday, in the near or distant future, we’ll see a world without physical cash. When will that be? No one can tell for sure. Our world moves in baby steps, and while developed nations like the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, and many countries in Europe have largely begun to favor electronic currency, there are many more who have yet to do so.