Is Cashless working against freedom?

Just as the internet disrupted media and the information ecosystem, innovations in financial technology (fintech) are disrupting another fundamental aspect of society: money. As societies move to modernize their financial systems, authoritarian governments, liberal democracies, and proponents of decentralized currencies have all proposed divergent visions for the future of money.

China, for example, is on its front foot, looking to leverage fintech to assert greater domestic control over capital and the economy, and disrupt the US-centered global financial system over the longer term.

The outcome of this monetary competition has geopolitical implications and significant societal risks. On one hand, digital currencies could reap the benefits of underpinning the financial system, extend services to the underbanked, and increase the efficiency and security of payments. But on the other hand, these technologies can also be used for state surveillance, to undermine critical financial institutions, and to evade sanctions and law enforcement.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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