Cashless, the political counter argument

Communications professionals know that you can sell something if you give it a good ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ brand identity.  This is the spin we hear all the time regarding a ‘cashless society’.  Apparently convenience means more than anything else.  But there is a darker side to this proposition; the expanded role of large intermediaries (e.g. VISA, PayPal, Apple, etc), the loss of privacy, the amassing of billions of data points, rules/laws set of corporate operatives (not elected representatives), and more.

This political reality is obscured by proponents who simply argue that we should abandon ‘old fashioned’ cash, knowing full well that this change will create heavier reliance on private payment systems that they control, or derive their livelihoods from.

In a video, Andreas Antonopoulos puts this principled case forward as the primary reason for free people to support Bitcoin, and by extension other cyber currencies with the similar person-to-person architecture.   This 23 minute Australian presentation avoids the techno-jargon and clearly outlines why Bitcoin is important.  It is worth the time.

Individual liberty and privacy are fundamental to liberal democracies and these are being eroded.  Democratic institutions, like credit unions, may be complicit or they may be resolute in advancing the real interests of ‘citizens’.

As a supplement you may also read the this article on how VISA is paying restaurants to stop accepting cash

And here’s how the elimination of cash is proceeding in China:

Note, in particular:

“Almost everyone in major Chinese cities is using a smartphone to pay for just about everything. At restaurants, a waiter will ask if you want to use WeChat or Alipay — the two smartphone payment options — before bringing up cash as a third, remote possibility.

Just as startling is how quickly the transition has happened. Only three years ago there would be no question at all, because everyone was still using cash…

…In practical terms, this means Tencent and Alibaba’s financial affiliate, Ant Financial, the two Chinese internet companies that run WeChat and Alipay, respectively, are sitting atop a gold mine of staggering proportions. Both companies can make money off the transactions, charge other companies to use their payment platforms and all the while collect the payments data to be used in everything from new credit systems to advertising…”

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