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The Future of Cash

- July 19, 2019
Will digital payment systems replace paper currency?
Featured Report

While cash continues to circulate widely in the United States, many consumers, as well as many business experts, believe paper money will soon become antiquated. Advocates of a cashless society point to countries such as Sweden and to some Chinese cities where mobile payment applications are supplanting paper currency. In the United States, digital payment systems are helping to change consumer habits, and some businesses have stopped accepting cash. Advocates of a cashless society argue that credit and debit cards and digital payment methods are efficient and transparent and inhibit financial crimes. Because cash is anonymous and largely untraceable, it can facilitate illicit activities such as tax evasion and money laundering. Critics of the cashless trend raise concerns regarding privacy, security and equality. They argue that cash lacks the fees associated with cards or electronic money transfers and that cashless businesses discriminate against people who must, or choose to, rely on cash. In the face of this criticism, some businesses that went cashless are reversing course.

Banking Barriers

Blockchain Investigations

1600s–1860sU.S. experiments with early forms of banking and currency.
1900s–1960sThe credit card industry take shape.
1970s–1990sBanking and credit card payments move online.
2000s–PresentMobile payment apps debut.

Will paper currency become obsolete in the United States?


Nash Foster
CEO and co-founder, Pyrofex Corp..


Brett Scott
Journalist and author of The Heretic's Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money .


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