Cashless society: A huge threat to our freedom
Econgularity, shorthand for economic singularity, is an ugly word I created to describe an unfortunate approaching moment in time when our current technological snooping prowess, the ease of big data manipulation and our sprint to a cashless economy will converge. This will happen in such a way as to permit governments to exercise incredibly powerful control over all human behavior.
Tune in to CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Friday at 3pm ET. Signature Bank Chairman Scott Shay will be on, talking about how close we are to becoming a cashless society and the huge threat it is to our freedom.
While this may sound like a paranoid doomsday scenario to some, as a real world finance professional, I believe that this scenario is not only eminently possible, but most of the technology is already available — albeit not yet fully marshaled — to frighteningly make it reality.
Technological advances have led to the creation of algorithms that can instantaneously review financial transactions, determining the nature, location and even the appropriateness of a purchase decision. These have been freely used by credit- and debit-card companies.
Berkshire Hathaway just increased its bet on Visa, which is set to gain as the cashless society becomes a reality.
The move was relatively small, just a 3% increase in Berkshire’s existing stake, but it casts a spotlight on the payments space, where investors are poised to enjoy strong long-term gains as consumers continue to switch from cash and checks to credit cards, debit cards and mobile payments.
Leading the cashless race is Sweden, where paper and coins accounted for just 20% of all consumer payments in 2015, according to Euromonitor International numbers cited by The New York Times. But don’t get too hung up on that figure. In the rest of the world, 75% of all transactions are still made using paper money, according to Euromonitor International, so the shift has plenty of room to run yet.
That’s great news for San Francisco-based Visa, which operates the world’s largest payment network, spread out over 200 countries and capable of handling more than 56,000 transaction messages per second…cont’dmother earth, DJ13, djean111 and 8 othersbroiles, 7wo7rees, bbgrunt, snot, Doremus Jessup, A little weird, glinda, Shlabotnik like this
"..... Two faces; one for love and another for the DMV". -- Between The Two, by poet Kenji Liu
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