1 Sep 2022


Money has transformed human society, enabling commerce and trade even between widely dispersed geographic locations. It allows the transfer of wealth and resources across space and over time. But for much of human history, it has also been the object of rapacity and depredation.

Money is now on the cusp of a transformation that could reshape banking, finance, and even the structure of society. Most notably, the era of physical currency, or cash, is drawing to an end, even in low- and middle-income countries; the age of digital currencies has begun. A new round of competition between official and private currencies is also looming in both the domestic and international arenas. The proliferation of digital technologies that is powering this transformation could foster useful innovations and broaden access to basic financial services. But there is a risk that the technologies could intensify the concentration of economic power and allow big corporations and governments to intrude even more into our financial and private lives.

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