Cryptocurrency has grown from an early-2021 buzzword to an overwhelmingly hot topic across tech and finance Twitter, investment circles and the creator economy. With a seemingly inevitable shift to decentralized currency underway, how can consumers expect their lives to change?
While the answer to the question mentioned above may vary per person, our societal obsession with money doesn’t appear to be changing in the near future. The only difference is that money won’t have the faces of dead presidents staring at you with disappointment. Instead, countless countries are moving in the direction of digital payments in lieu of cash. Moving towards a cashless civilization sounds futuristic, but it’s already happening sooner than you think. In it simplist state, you can reference the ease and convenience of digital payment systems like Apple Pay.
According to WeForum, cryptocurrency has become popular as a cheap solution to sending money across borders. The payment method has become so successful that European countries like Sweden use digital transactions for 98 percent of the country’s commerce, says Mint Intuit. Yes, digital payment infrastructures are exciting but don’t forget about the crucial privacy and anti-discrimination considerations that economic leaders need to update in order to live in a cashless society. For example, citizens who are experiencing homelessness may lack the resources required to adapt in a digital world. With our private banking information and identification numbers even more accessible, hackers may find it easier to go on a few shopping sprees courtesy of your direct deposit.
As we look towards the future, I see fewer bank robberies. No, samaritans will not get better, but physical banks will dwindle. Not only will banks be digitized, but they will also become digital. The key difference between digital banks and digitized banks revolves around when the technology was introduced. According to NeoFinancial, digital banks are born digital. Customer relationships are online from the opening of an account to its closing. Comparatively, digitized banking is when banking services are carried out online to reduce risk, improve efficiency, and better serve customers.
You may have noticed that your bank has already introduced digitized banking. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting industry shifts, in-person banking has gradually diminished as a necessity. Commercial banks like Chase and Bank of America are becoming contact-less and automated, and one can predict that the future of money will continue in this direction. Not only does digital service reduce office space, which saves the bank money, it also allows customers to do everything they would be able to do with a traditional account and more.
Within the next few years, it is hypothesized that emerging developments in fintech will adhere to us and our values. Two standards are driving this: impact investing, providing capital to address social and/or environmental issues, and belief buying, when consumers choose principle over products. The youngest generation of investors, Gen Z, is using money in a more purpose-driven way, and they want their banks to reflect that. According to McKinsey, Gen Z wants to breathe new life into what corporate responsibility looks like, and one of the biggest elements has been the focus on values. Passionate investors, like Gen Z, have been tackling issues including climate change, corruption, and social inequality without relying on mainstream banks that contradict their values.
We can all agree that moolah is important. Not only is it necessary to survive in a capitalistic society, but the future of the world depends on what we do with it now. As our lives steadily morph into a form of social currency through social media, our financial landscape will adapt. Living in a money-less world doesn’t appear to be an option, but living in a cashless one is within inevitable reach.