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Cashlessness experiment (not what you think)

By Dave Birch posted May 6 2008 at 2:08 AM

[Dave Birch] I gave a talk on cashlessness to the London Futures Symposium a couple of weeks ago so I thought I'd do an experiment and put the presentation on to to Slideshare to see if anyone is even vaguely interested in looking at it. Let me stress -- once again -- that these are my personal opinions so I have taken the Consult Hyperion background out and put another one in! Anyway, if you like to take a look, I'd love to have your feeback...

I know that there's a problem with fonts, I'll try and figure that out next time. The point of the presentation was to explain -- to a non-banking, non-digital money audience -- roughly how money as evolved and where it might go next. I've tried to categorise the "discontents" (ie, who is it, to answer Joe DiVanna's question at the Digital Money Forum, who has a problem with the way it works now) to put in some scaffolding for a non-technical debate and since it worked quite well -- so I was told -- I'll expand it for the blog when I have some time.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]


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Encourage people to take a look at the presentation. I was present at the Londons Futures Symposium, and thought that this was a really neat session. Some great slide material. - Thanks David.

It's not clear to me that the economy wins without cash. Cash is the arbitrage that allows all the inefficiencies of the bank system to be avoided. As most electronic systems are oriented as a 3 or 4 party model, and to receive cash is an expensive capital investment (become a retailer) this chops out the ability for ordinary people to do ordinary small accounting. A clear loss of efficiency. (This was the mistake that quasi-retail systems Paypal and Mondex avoided, at least in principle.)

For Losers, I would add "poor people." Unless there is some commitment to universal electronic payments and to privacy, those that can't get a bank account will be worse off. Many countries run banking systems where entire groups of people are discouraged from access, and to take cash from them will add very harsh additional costs.

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