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The Truth About the Death of Cash

It’s a hot summer day in 2025 and you’re wrapping up a long meeting at the office. Several of your colleagues have attended the meeting from home, their faces and bodies projected as holograms into seats at the table. But you came into the office, and were rewarded with a nice array of meeting snacks – slices of lab-grown salami and grapes. Afterwards, you step out of the office to grab some fresh air and a coffee. On the street the cars are driving themselves, and people with internet connected retinal implants walk past, checking the scores and their stocks as they go.

You order a latte with soy milk – the only kind of milk that’s affordable any more after the collapse of the dairy industry. You reach into your wallet, and pull out a few bills, folded and slightly crumpled on the edges, smoothing them before you feed them into the robot barista’s money slot.

Wait. Crumpled bills? Isn’t this supposed to be the future? Nobody is going to use cash in 10 years, right? Not quite. It’s tempting to forecast the demise of cash. In fact, people have been predicting the end for physical money for nearly 60 years. With the rise of credit cards, contactless payments and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin the death knells have only gotten louder. It may seem like physical money could soon be a thing of the past, but if you take a closer look at the evidence – and the intriguing psychological relationship we have developed with notes and coins – you’ll find that it’s a bit premature to predict cash’s disappearance.

Read more: BBC – Future – The truth about the death of cash

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