The Coin Bureau Podcast: Crypto Without the Hype

The Cashless Society: Part 1

Aug. 12, 2022

As our lives become ever more digital, a world without cash edges seemingly ever closer. For many of us, cash makes only fleeting appearances in our day-to-day lives, as we transact with cards, phones, apps and, of course, crypto on an increasingly regular basis. The cashless society is nigh.


Going cashless can certainly seem more convenient in most situations. Who has time for the money that jiggles and folds anymore? Cash use was crashing even before the pandemic came along and dealt what many assume was a mortal blow to the traditional way of transacting. When was the last time you pulled some sweaty coins out of your back pocket or unrolled a crumpled banknote?


And yet, as much as going cashless may seem like the natural evolution of things, it's a process that is being driven by some powerful vested interests. Banks, payment networks, fintech companies and even governments have much to gain from the death of cash and they have not been shy about moving that process along. And we the consumers have, for the most part, gone blithely along with them.


In this episode, we discuss the emergence of the cashless society and ask whether the speed and convenience of digital payments really make up for the loss of other freedoms that cash allows us. We look at who benefits from cash’s decline and who loses out. And we dig below the surface to see whether cash really is dying out as quickly as we might have thought, before looking at one place where the demise of cash is helping to create a living nightmare. 


This episode was partly inspired by the brilliant book Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets, by acclaimed author Brett Scott. In the book, Scott brilliantly lays bare the way in which the financial powers-that-be operate and how they would like nothing better to see cash go the way of the dodo. He also looks at how crypto has muscled in on the debate and how it may not be the saviour many of us hope it will. His book is insightful, forthright and well worth your time.


Our iHeart stablemates at the wonderful Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know podcast had themselves a fascinating discussion on the cashless society back in January 2020. Much has changed since then, but it’s well worth a listen (as of course are all their other episodes too). Available wherever you get your podcasts. 


Having got so caught up in discussing all the aspects of a cashless society, we decided to split our discussion in two. The second part will be available next week. 


We hope you enjoy the show.


Producer for iHeartMedia: Noel Brown

Editor: Sam Moult

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