Money is still a store of value. But how secure are digital systems against attacks from outside and above all from inside?
It’s all a question of trust
The acceptance of a possible abolition of cash is a question of trust. It is significant and not without a certain irony that precisely for this reason in Sweden and the People’s Republic of China the move away from cash has progressed the furthest in the world. In Sweden, citizens’ trust in state institutions and measures has traditionally been high.
It is acceptable in a state that enjoys the full trust of its citizens that every human being, insofar as he inescapably appears as a market participant, becomes absolutely transparent because all acts of consumption and whereabouts are completely traceable. In many places in Sweden, cash payments are no longer possible at all, and the country is well on the way to becoming Europe’s first cashless economy. Because of this, people are checking digital coin reviews so they can avoid scams.
Quite different in China, the country where the political elite trusts the people so little that they now monitor every step with 625 million video cameras, has introduced a points system for state piety and where no telephone card can be purchased without a face scan. And how could this surveillance be carried out more easily than through tracking in the form of abolishing cash? That is why cash is also embossed and printed data protection.
Digital inflation warning
A final aspect is an economic one. The abolition of cash would permanently change the relationship between central banks and credit institutions. The former would no longer generate profits. It is a problem that could possibly be dealt with from a fiscal perspective, but what would weigh more heavily was the risk of inflation.
Commercial banks could theoretically create a lot of money by lending in almost any way, thereby increasing the money supply. If the so-called money supply is eliminated, i.e. the current cash, the money supply managed by them increases. Correspondingly more money then flows into the economic cycle. So there are perfectly rational reasons for clinging to the continued existence of cash as a physical medium of exchange for goods and services.