Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

Societal risks of the end of physical cash

Almeida, P. ; Fazendeiro, P. ; Inácio , P.R.M.

Futures Vol. 104, Nº 104, pp. 47 - 60, December, 2018.

ISSN (print): 0016-3287
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,96 (in 2018)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1016/j.futures.2018.07.004

Cash, standardized physical tokens that represent economic value, has been a key instrument in the evolution of human civilizations for around 3000 years. However in the last few decades cash has been progressively losing its preeminence in favour of electronic handling of money transactions. The shift to a cashless society, in which physical money is completely or almost completely replaced by electronic records is on the horizon. Regardless of its advantages and disadvantages, electronic handling of money needs the support of a complex technological infrastructure which operation depends on many factors. This paper discusses this subject in detail, identifies the main threats linked to electronic money handling and evaluates their possible impacts on societies that no longer rely on cash.