“It would be fatal if citizens got the impression that cash is gradually taken away from them”
Bundesbank President Weidman.
Over the last couple of days, bureaucrats at the European Commission and European Central Bank have expressed a keen interest in withdrawing the €500-note from circulation – barely a week after former Standard Chartered CEO Peter Sands published a report calling for the exact same measure. Allegedly the currency of choice for organized crime outfits around the world, the so-called “Bin Laden bill,” accounts for close to a third of the total amount of cash in existence in the Eurozone.
Then on Tuesday, Larry Summers, in an effort to keep his name in the media by hook or crook, called for the death of the $100 bill, though he lamented that removing existing notes was probably “a step too far”.
We have warned for over two years (here, here, here and here) that a loose, albeit powerful, coalition of governments, central banks, big banks, credit card companies, fintech firms, NGOs, and large corporations seeks to pull the plug on cash, for their own disparate motives. They already have vital technological and generational trends firmly on their side, as a result of which cash’s days as a commonly used payment method may well be numbered anyway. They also have the added bonus of widespread public ignorance, apathy, and disinterest.
Yet despite all the factors stacked in the favor of cash’s would-be executioners, there is a very serious danger of overstating their prospects, especially given the strength of feeling some countries still have for physical currency…
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