Going Cashless?

in LeoFinancelast year

About two years ago there was a question on Musing, about countries going totally cashless. The answers varied based on where the responding users were located. Some said it's going to happen at some point while others from countries where fried fish is still served wrapped in old newspaper on the street said no way, that will never happen as you can't live without cash. Most of us knew it's just a matter of time, sooner or later someone is going to start the revolution and that day has come as Sweden is going cashless very soon.

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They were the second (after London) to inaugurate their first automatic cash machine in July 1967. They like new things and ready to try out everything, be early adopters. If you ask me, this is the right mentality as it makes you move forward faster than the rest of the world.

Swish?

Swish is a mobile payment system in Sweden. The service was launched in 2012 by six large Swedish banks, in cooperation with Bankgirot and the Central Bank of Sweden. It had 6.5 million users as of September 2018. Swish is a member of the European Mobile Payment Systems Association.
The service works through a smartphone application, through which the user's phone number is connected to their bank account, and which makes it possible to transfer money in real time, a few seconds until confirmation is received by both parties. source

Swish had 6.5 million users in 2018, which means roughly 60% of the population as in 31 August 2020 Sweden had 10.8 million inhabitants. If we don't count kids and older people who are not capable of using such an app, I'd say pretty much everyone is using Swish. Achieving that number in only six years is impressive!

QR Code?

Another solution they are using in some supermarkets, cafés, shops is QR codes that customers can scan in order to pay by using their mobile phones.

Mobile Bank ID?

BankID is a mobile app that allows anyone with a Swedish personal identification number and bank account to access all digital public services, use online banking and sign contracts. Looks like the app is easy to use as it has a six digit identification. Compared to our key system on the blockchain this must be really simple. Phones also have fingerprint identification, which makes phones and any app safer.

They say if you can remember your password it means it's not safe one, but in this case it's not true. Imagine people copying long strings of passwords full of lower case and upper case, plus numbers over and over again as there's a high chance you mistype something. This system can function only if you can keep your password in mind.

Microchip Implants?

I remember I saw a tv program a couple of years ago about microchip being implanted in Swedish people's hand, that you could pay with, open doors or store data about your commuting pass and use it simply by waving the hand. The program started in 2014 and reached it's peak two years later.

Cash Payments?

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The diagram shows that the percentage paying in cash for their last purchase has decreased from 39 to 9 per cent between 2010 and 2020.

The data is clear, no need to add more. It speaks for itself, it's the decision of Swedes to opt for non-cash payments. Many businesses have signs like Card only, Cashfree or Cash only as it's the easiest and fastest way to handle payments. The 9% is 2020 is made up by older people (most likely) and are very small payments that is going to disappear completely in the near future.

Digital Currency?

Sweden’s government will start exploring the feasibility of having the country move to a digital currency, marking another step into the unknown for the world’s most cashless society.
Per Bolund, financial markets minister, said a review launched on Friday is expected to be completed by the end of November in 2022. Anna Kinberg Batra, a former chairwoman of the Riksbank’s finance committee, will lead the inquiry.
Sweden is among the first countries in the world to consider introducing a digital currency. Its central bank is already running a pilot project with Accenture Plc to introduce an electronic krona based on the same blockchain technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin.
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Writing this post on Leofinace, a blockchain based platform, I don't think I have to detail to you what this means. It's the best news you can get if you're into cryptocurrency.

For skeptics, as you can see, a cashless society is possible and I tell you why and how.

How Did They Get Here?

As I mentioned in the first part of my post, Swedes like to be the first, to lead the trend or create the trend if you like. They are pioneers in many things and able to adapt to a new situation.

As you can see, this was/is a process, it didn't happen from one day to another. There have been many steps that led to this situation. Little by little, adopting new things, people getting used to new technology led the society to a point in which they don't want to use cash anymore.

The covi-19 forced lockdown speeded up the process enormously. Being forced to stay at home or not allowed to leave your city left no other choice but to order online, eliminating the use of cash as much as possible worldwide, forcing businesses to find new solutions.

This is the normal process, a natural one. When statistics show less and less people are using cash, it means it's time for a smarter solution.

Is It That Simple?

It is at first glance but as every change and innovation, there are problems that need solutions. One concern is safety obviously. Going all digital means you need the best safety system possible as hackers are not sleeping and I'm not referring to bored teens who are trying to look cool in front of their friends. However, Swedes know what they are dealing with, have experience as many apps are developed every day and know how important security is.

Elderly people are a problem just like anywhere else, they most likely will need assistance but I bet they have a plan for that too.

What About The Rest Of The World?

Sweden has the advantage of being a small country compared to China, India or United States to name a few. It has less than 11 million inhabitants, so it's easier to adapt. The other advantage is they started the digitalization process early, by adopting all kinds of new technology and people are already used to change.

My country, Romania is going to be among the last ones to join the cashless world, if ever. Unfortunately we're extremely slow in anything, we take first place on lists for all the wrong reasons.

Inflation was so high at some point that in 2005 the government decided to do a redenomination, which meant cutting four zeros (10,000∶1). This was done obviously out of necessity to make our life easier. However, it's been 15 years since then and millions, especially village people are still using the old system, converting every price and sum back to millions as they don't want to change.

Accepting any kind of change is slow and difficult for this group. Even thought many have debit cards getting their pension transferred on every month, they cash out all they get immediately and hold cash instead.

These are just a few examples why we won't be among the first adopters, the bad ones I don't even want to mention here, better that way.

So what about your country? How do you see the situation? Is there any chance in the near future to go totally cashless?

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There is no doubt that is the direction things are heading and we will get there.

In the US, we need a lot of people to die. That is what will spur on the cashless society.

Why? It is a generational thing. We need to remember that people look at money differently. The older generation was raised using cash. GenX is credit and debit cards. Millennials are mobile apps.

Hence we see more of the older guard dying off, those who are cask users. It is the same with gold. The gold bugs are the Boomers; Bitcoiners are the Millennials.

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I guess with older people it's similar in every country. Mine is especially in a very bad situation as those who are the oldest, grew up in communism and were taught not to think, only obey and execute. This is extremely bad as a good part of them are not capable of more, can't adapt to new situations.

Newer generations are different but rural people are not.

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There was a section of the US that was sure the recent coin shortage we had due primarily to covid was a government plot to force us to go cashless. I like most don't do a lot with physical money. My pay check goes to my bank, I use credit cards for everything, and maybe use cash at the gas station for a cold beer.

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I'm not using much cash either but two weeks ago i got into trouble as the post office is still cash only and i forgot I didn't have the necessary cash on me and had to go cash hunting. The first ATM was kind of broken, the text displayed looked like written in DOS, so I had to go to another one.

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Sweden is indeed a good example from technology advancement point of view. My country (The Netherlands) is, like Sweden is, on the forefront of cashless as well. Already for years the government is campaigning to use the bank card for payments, since a few years even the small amount, like 1 Euro bill. Interoperability between banks is all arranged and free of charge to the user. Since years, mobile banking is introduced and used by many. Driven by startup companies, our banks implementing all sort of useful tools around mobile banking, like payment requests to others (through email, kinda like paypal), or splitting a bill at a restaurant. What is still missing, is the ability to use mobile banking when being offline, ie no internet connection. I believe this is possible with a local phone wallet and pre deposited funds in the local wallet. The phone will connect to the other phone (the one with whom the tx will be made) through bluetooth technology (all smartphones have bluetooth). An in between form could be using SMS (text messaging); When not having internet coverage, cell phone coverage is available at almost any point in my country. This form would not need a local funds. Not too ling ago I created a proposition in a slide deck/video (https://peakd.com/hive-139531/@edje/uypgizkp). Two years ago a few festivals experimented with mobile tokens in replacement of physical tokens that is very common in NL at festivals, tokens that can be purchased at token ATMs at the festival. The problem they discovered, the mobile network and internet connections are not reliable enough. Too many people at a too little spot for mobile networks (+ extended network base stations / cells). But off course, the concept of a local internet, or offgrid type of electronic payment system, was not born yet. I even think its not born yet in crypto world as well, but I may have missed something :)

Anyways, no matter what the future will bring, we are going cashless, for sure.

ps We had the chip implants as well, mostly promoted by some of the clubs; Chips connected with a credit card. Though it works, I think we need a few decades still for many of us to accept such wallet. Maybe it'll never revive, since we will have our wallet in whatever we like, from jewellery, to glasses or anything else we carry easily with us. Sooner than later this will be created and marketed.

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I knew the Netherlands is also advanced in most things as I follow their evolution and had the pleasure to visit a decade ago. However, thanks for this detailed reply, it makes it easier to identify which country is closer to going cashless. I'm sure you'll get there way before the others though.

Maybe it'll never revive, since we will have our wallet in whatever we like, from jewellery, to glasses or anything else we carry easily with us.

I know I've read somewhere about a smartwatch that had a wallet for small funds, like when you go running and you have like 20 euro on your watch to spend on a sport drink or water. That was also a good idea as when you're out to do sport, you can't carry much.

I'm curious to see how this paying offline thing will be resolved. It would be great, I'm sure.

There's something new every day and I'm amazed how some countries can adapt.

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I'm curious to see how this paying offline thing will be resolved. It would be great, I'm sure.

I do hope we can make this happen one or the other way, since this is needed to go ture cashless. Though in countries like NL, we have a great internet coverage, at home, in office and while on the move. Still when the mobile network(s) have outages, one need to be able to pay. Also when coverage is not good enough. But for many other countries, they dont have a 100% coverage of the country with mobile networks, not wityh 2G, 3G, 4G and they will also not get there with 5G.

Another thing that canbe solved with local wallets with funds that one needs to move to (using internet obviously), is the possiblity to keep the p2p transactions in offgride mode, only local. Using blockchains, one can imagine to run a blockchain node within the phone app adopting the most decentralised network as possible. When makeing these protocols to be lightweight, it should be able to use any form of connectivity, whether it be internet, text messaging channel, bluetooth, or low frequency networks like LORA (this latter is developed for IOT, is relatively low bandwidth, but maybe enough to run a payment protocol across when internet/data coennectivity is not available: https://lora-alliance.org/). In NL we already have nationwide coverage of LORA... It's d*rn inexpensive to deploy due to low frequencies of the air signals. I forsee other countries deploying LORA networks as well any time soon.

I guess we'll see more in the near future as now there's no stopping, isn't it? New solution appear every day and we'll get there eventually.

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Everywhere I Go I tried to use cash, if they don't accept it I go somewhere else. A lot of businesses and services will give you a discount for cash. It's like a secret Brotherhood that don't want a middleman having anything to do with any transaction. Taking away the cash is taking away our freedom.

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I guess it's different in every country. Here you can't get any discount for paying with cash, but it has happened to be refused to pay with debit card as they said the amount is too small. This is a clear violation of law.
In a way you're right as every transaction is traceable.

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I guess I should have mentioned that this was mostly small businesses that I was talking about. The big box stores and corporations will have no part of discount for cash, they will do what they are told by the powers-that-be.

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No worries, I've figured these are small business. Here no matter where you go, they don't give you any discount for paying cash.

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in Greece i bet we are gonna be the last ones :P

everything revolves around black money. Because the taxes are extremely unfair in order for people to basically live they have to take cash without ofc letting anyone know.

Basically, everyone is stealing in taxes. The government knows it as well but they have created this situation due to corruption. If for example tomorrow you everyone was forced to pay with credit cards then by the end of the year we would become a third world country

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