There are very few, if any countries out there that have been trying to remove cash from their society as fast as Sweden did.
To give you some background, half of the Swedish banks have completely stopped accepting cash deposits, as digital currency has proved to be more profitable for them due to the fees that the debit cards or the online banking apps come with.
It is also much easier for the banks to protect digital money than cash. In 2008 alone there were no less than 210 robberies that affected the banks in Sweden, but, as of 2017, the number fell to just two. The progress made is obvious.
It’s not just that: over 4000 Sweden residents have microchips implanted in their hands, which allow them to pay for travel and food and even enter their own offices without needing a key. It’s all done with a wave of the hand.
Most of the restaurants, parking lots or buses are swipe or click-dependant across the country, as well.
At the moment, bills and coins represent only 1% of the country’s economy. Compare that to the 10% in Europe and 8% in the United States and that tells you everything you need to know about the future of cash, in Sweden at least.
Not everyone is happy about the situation though: the Swedish National Pensioners Organization is protesting the situation by saying that the cashless movement is going a bit too fast for older people who are not comfortable using iPads or iPhones for their banking or even for paying for items in shops.
The central bank in Sweden is planning on rolling out a version of the physical krona, the country’s currency: the e-krona. The e-krona would maintain the functions of the state-backed currency even if the cash version of it would disappear.
While it has its hurdles, a cashless economy does seem to work, as Sweden has been consistently proving. Nevertheless, this type of economy inadvertently makes digital money just as vulnerable to hackers as real cash is to robberies.
Would you embrace a digital future, or do you still prefer to live by the coin and bill?