Will Bitcoin Make Cash Extinct?
Updated: Mar 19, 2020
The following is an article “Will Bitcoin Make Cash Extinct?” by Marc Primo.
For many of us, paying with cash is starting to become a rarity. The same goes for writing out checks. Whether the majority of your purchases are made using a credit card or debit card, the point is wherever you go these days it is often more convenient to make cashless payments, and the fact that almost every merchant accepts this mode of payment is a testament to the possibility that cash is slowly becoming extinct.
Life without cash
In its tangible form, cash has existed for thousands of years. It is an asset that is universally recognizable, transcending cultural and language barriers. “There is nothing permanent except change,” said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus; pardon the pun, but with the future of cash not looking so bright, spare ‘change’ might soon be a thing of the past.
Cashless ecosystems already exist in countries such as Sweden and many financial analysts believe that it is a model that the U.S. and other nations could eventually follow. If you think about it, now would be the best time to revolutionize the way we make payments.
With online transactions at an all time high, thanks to both the mobile phenomenon and secure payment channels such as ApplePay, the convenience and immediacy of not just making but receiving payments is something that most of us will not be giving up anytime soon.
That said, the term ‘e-commerce’ itself is at risk of becoming redundant in a world where virtually all payments are made in the realm of a digitized economy. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better than PayPal, along comes Bitcoin—a cryptocurrency that leverages on this infrastructure and looks poised to becoming the next big thing after cash.
As a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is essentially electronic cash. But unlike tangible paper money issued by central banks that have different currencies such as dollars or euros, Bitcoin is the first digital currency of its kind that is produced using advanced computer software by businesses all over the world.
As a result, this makes it a payment method that is completely autonomous of central banks or federal authorities, making Bitcoin fully independent of any government control and its availability on the global market.
What’s next for Bitcoin?
While the use of Bitcoin might not yet be as commonplace as cash or established digitized payment methods, trends show that Bitcoin is gaining traction. In an article posted in online financial site The Balance, the majority of Bitcoin transactions occurred in China in 2016, so much so that its volatility at the start of 2017, which saw its value dip from $1,129 to $800 on the same day, was largely attributed to the superpower’s speculation.
There is no question that Bitcoin is quickly developing a following around the world. What’s more, the fact that transactions are anonymous also makes it an attractive payment method to those who engage in dubious or illegal activities.
However, Bitcoin’s very nature as an independent pan-global asset that central banks have no control over may very well prove to be its biggest stumbling block, with many governments likely to resist anything that operates beyond their reach.