Going Cashless; Exciting or Scary?

It is the era of driverless cars. Also, a company (SoftBank) Plans To Open A Store Staffed (Almost) Entirely By Pepper, Its Humanoid Robot and lots of big companies like Toyota Motor Corporation and FoxConn are going into extreme robotics and automation. Humans are being systematically rendered jobless in this brave new world.

There was the recent news that Norwegian’s two biggest banks have eliminated, TOTALLY, the use of cash. When that happens heads (jobs) are bound to roll. What do you need cash dispensing machines for? And what would cashiers be doing in banks? Banking kiosks ate already eliminating the need for physical bank branches (along with the humans who would otherwise staff them).

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There are of course virtual banks in some jurisdictions where most things are automated without any human intervention. Lots of banks in the more developed economies of the world have been moving towards more extensive digitalization of their financial services, and generally minimizing the need to use cash for day to day transactions. Think about this, when last did you visit a physical bank, and are you totally sure that you couldn’t have carried out that transaction online, instead?

Online transactions are catching up with, and overtaking physical cash use, worldwide The cashless policy of the Nigerian federal government is in tune with this radical general world shift.

In addition to Norway, other countries that have gone almost totally cashless are Sweden and Denmark. These countries are noted for their irreligiousness. It is striking that the trio are into the Cashless Drive more aggressively.

Pay Online

I am not particularly religious, but I know it is is foretold in the bible in the Book of Revelation that it would come to a point when people would not be able to purchase things, or carry out any financial transaction without a number “666” on their fotehead. And this is supposed to be the “mark of the beast”. Well, we are moving, or have moved, to the era of PIN (Personal Identification Number), TIN (Tax Identification Number), VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and and all sorts of digital unique Identification of humans and items, so all these developments seem to be in tandem with the biblical predictions.

Now, when a society goes totally cash digital, there is no money spent, or financial transaction, that can not be tracked, because there is always an electronic trail. This allows for better and efficient tax management, totally eliminates the ability to launder money, eradicates sleaze and governmental corruption / embezzlement and also gives government greater control over the lives of the citizens.

With the knowledge that too much power is a potent potential intoxicant, this could have negative implications in jurisdictions where the leaders are less than altruistic in their disposition.

If we leave out the possibility of such total control being capable (likely) of being misused, I would say the advantages of a totally paperlessly cashless society far outweigh the disadvantages (if any).

Bitcoin

The bitcoin experiment is something that is already gradually and inexorably leading us to the point of ditching paper money, and trade by barter looks like a real possibility again.

If/when Nigeria gets the infrastructure right (electricity and internet connectivity), the obvious advantages of no need for currency processing, no bank robberies, kidnapping for ransom, better preservation of the trees and greenry (with a resultant slowdown in the greenhouse effect), etc, is something we probably should more aggressively explore, as a nation.

I particularly like the concomitant effect of finally totally checkmating graft in government and private sector transactions, because all transactions would leave an audit trail. It is not surprising that drug, prostitution and illegal arms money is almost always in cash. No easy way to trace.

In addition to the much touted paperless money, let us brace up for an imminent cashless world. An exciting, if somewhat scary world..

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