Why the Use Cash is so resilient

Last week, I returned from a two-week trip to Europe where I didn’t spend any money at all. Or at least not any cash.

To be clear, I visited Finland, Sweden and Denmark without using any paper money (or coins). I never used any euros or krona or krone. And not only that, I never saw anyone spending money, period. Meaning I didn’t see anyone fumbling around in their pockets for bills, or heaven forbid change. (Not even that drunk guy at the 7-Eleven in Copenhagen.) Everyone used cards and phones.

It really hit me, and so I decided to explore this notion of an increasingly cash-free world. Will money completely disappear? If so, how far along are we? And how is COVID-19 and the rise of crypto shaping this shift? Now I understand the concept of a cashless society isn’t especially new and that cash is hardly dead. Having said that, there are some decidedly new elements here.

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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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