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The Almighty Buck

The Future of Money 439

Snuggums writes "Apparently some major forces at play in the tech money world. People like Vint Cerf, Tim O'Reilly, Andre Durand, and Cory Doctorow are teaming up with Tom Frey and the futurist think tank, DaVinci Institute, to dive into the forces at play with a Future of Money Summit later this year. They've even tapped a Nobel Prize winner and Visa founder, Dee Hock. They're hoping to answer questions like; what kind of money you'll be putting into vending machines 25 years from now; when will cash disappear; when will our current banking system become obsolete; and who gets to own money in the future?"
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The Future of Money

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  • Hehe. (Score:5, Funny)

    by lukew ( 528994 ) <woodzy@gmail.com> on Sunday February 09, 2003 @03:58PM (#5265900)
    "Apparently some major forces at play in the tech money world."

    Apparently some english majors at play in the Slashdot world.
  • by Quaoar ( 614366 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:00PM (#5265907)
    ...walk around saying, "Dude, I am so money"?
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:01PM (#5265911)
    Cost:

    $995 per person before April 15, 2003

    $1,195 after April 15, 2003 up to the day of the event.

    That's not the future of my money.

    • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @06:54PM (#5266953) Homepage Journal
      ...how O'Reilly repeatedly price their conferences out of the range of most of the people that build, or are likely to build, the very software the conferences are about.

      These conferences are primarily interesting because of the people that attend them, yet by pricing their conferences like that they are virtually guaranteeing that the only people who turn up are Sun and Microsoft's [insert conference buzzword here] evangelists, and a bunch of journalists.

      • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @12:54AM (#5268549)
        "...how O'Reilly repeatedly price their conferences out of the range of most of the people that build, or are likely to build, the very software the conferences are about."

        Most technical conferences give out lots and lots of free complimentary tickets to their events. That's partly why the remaining tickets get to be so expensive. If you don't receive any free complimentary tickets yourself, then it could possibly mean you're not really part of the social fabric of those communities.

        I am not making an assertion, so please don't get upset, I am just making a guess based on my personal experience.

    • by mrs clear plastic ( 229108 ) <allyn@clearplastic.com> on Sunday February 09, 2003 @10:46PM (#5268062) Homepage
      Perhaps you can volunteer at this and get in for free?

      I have volunteered at conferences including Unsenix, Interop, WWW Consortium, and others and have allways received complementary admission.

      It may be too late for this one, but if you become aware of stuff in the future (> 6 Months), you might have a better chance of getting in.

      Especially if you off to do a key role, such as head up registration, logistics, whatever.

      Mark
  • Dont you know? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Junky191 ( 549088 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:01PM (#5265917)
    Dont you know that cash is unpatriotic? Please refrain from using it anymore. Make everything electronic so we have an excellent paper trail to ensure domestic security and civility. What you don't like it? You must be one of them...
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:01PM (#5265920)
    at my apt. complex they installed new washer and dryers w/cash card readers. I find it slightly inconvienient b/c I have to goto the main building to fill the card w/cash (but it does take credit card and debit). Other than that, it is slightly easier b/c I don't have to store $15 in quarters for laundry day.

    I stopped using cash about 3 years ago. I keep two checking accounts and one savings account. I have a seperate check card for the second checking account and I transfer money to it for purchases (even at the grocery store just incase someone hits and extra zero and empties my account).

    Once Wendy's and drug dealers take CC's I am set.
  • by Unknown Poltroon ( 31628 ) <unknown_poltroon1sp@myahoo.com> on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:02PM (#5265922)
    Ill be happy. Or would you be comfortable paying by credit card for a copy of 2600? How long before ashcroft starts checking up on those "obvious" criminals.
    • Already done...

      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/02/08/2130 21 9&mode=thread&tid=126
    • David Chaum [chaum.com] has been concerning himself with these issues for years. If you read some [chaum.com] of his [cs.tcd.ie] writings [komarios.net] you will find that he shares your concerns.

      Rather than badly paraphrase his thinking, I'll just quote the introduction to "Security without Identification":

      Computerization is robbing individuals of the ability to monitor and control the ways information about them is used. Already, public and private sector organizations acquire extensive personal information and exchange it amongst themselves. Individuals have no way of knowing if this information is inaccurate, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate, and may only find out when they are accused falsely or denied access to services. New and more serious dangers derive from computerized pattern recognition techniques: even a small group using these and tapping into data gathered in everyday consumer transactions could secretly conduct mass surveillance, inferring individuals' lifestyles, activities, and associations. The automation of payment and other consumer transactions is expanding these dangers to an unprecedented extent.

      Organizations, on the other hand, are attracted to the efficiency and cost-cutting opportunities of such automation. Moreover, they too are vulnerable, as when cash, checks, consumer credit, insurance, or social services are abused by individuals. The obvious solution for organizations is to computerize in ways that use more pervasive and interlinked records, perhaps in combination with national identity cards or even fingerprints. But the resulting potential for misuse of data would have a chilling effect on individuals. Nevertheless, this is essentially the approach of the electronic payment and other automated systems now being tried. Although these systems will require massive investment and years to complete, their underlying architecture is already quietly being decided and their institutional momentum is growing.

      This momentum is driving us toward a seemingly irreconcilable conflict, between organizations' need for security and the benefits of automation on one side, and individuals' need for ensured privacy and other protections on the other. But this conflict may be avoided by early adoption of a fundamentally different approach to automating transaction systems. This new approach is mutually advantageous: it actually increases organizations' benefits from automating, including improved security, while it frees individuals from the surveillance potential of data linking and other dangers of unchecked record keeping. Its more advanced techniques offer not only wider use at reduced cost, but also greater consumer convenience and protection. In the long run, it holds promise for enhancing economic freedom, the democratic process, and informational rights.


      Of course the technology Chaum advocates is not the only way to conduct monetary (and other) transactions. You can be sure that there are powerful forces that would like nothing better than to have improved access into people's private business. At the very least, people should realize there are other options.
    • [...] would you be comfortable paying by credit card for a copy of 2600? How long before ashcroft starts checking [...]
      Ashcroft is small change. I'm afraid of Safeway. They're the people who will be selling real, hard data about me to the highest bidder.

      Of course, what I'm really afraid of is that my wife may be the highest bidder. "What's this? You bought a pak of cigarettes, 3 beers and a Maxim?"
  • A bigger question. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:02PM (#5265926) Homepage
    Why does it still take 5 damned days for a transaction to "clear" when I move money from one account to another? Has anyone actually ever challenged any banks/building societies to justify this delay?
    • I agree. Same with checks, my mom asked my bank(on one of her many trips to get a cashiers check, Ebay) and they said that they are required to report if the check is good/bad with in 48 hours.
      • Not the same with checks. The parent referred to a transfer between accounts (at the same institution, not between two banks.) Checks on the other hand, should have their funds verified if they are not drawing from that particular institution. The larger the amount and the 'less local' the check, the longer those funds would probably be held.

        OTOH, I've not yet heard of a cashiers check being held, (or cash for that matter, although large deposits have to be reported :) but it wouldn't surprise me if some institutions have a policy for doing so.
    • It depends on the backend that your financial institution is running, but 5 days is a bit much. You should consider voicing your concern with your feet and taking your savings elsewhere if possible.
    • It depends on your institution and the type of currency involved. For example, the Royal Bank of Canada allows you to instanteanously wire cash to other client of RBC (via a web page even).

      Then again stuff like Credit card and what not, go through this humoungous worldwide database... which I can only imagine is one massive flat text file. But I'm surely wrong =).

      And finally, when you wire stuff between two banks, you have to basically have a period where *if* the source bank bails out of the transaction, and the destination bank has already used the cash, there is no floating cash debt - in the end, you have to remember cash is not electronic, there still is the money involved.

    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:17PM (#5266051) Journal
      Yes, people have, over and over again. The banks' answer was always that they use the interest on your money to cover the cost of the transaction. Thankfully, my bank (ABN Amro) has changed their ways. Instead of delaying transactions, my money is transferred instantly from one account to the other, but the rent date on the account where the money was withdrawn from is back-dated two days. The bank get their rent, and I don't have to wait for my money to arrive in my second account. Suits me just fine.

      As for the future of money... I don't see cash disappearing in the next 25 years. Cash is still very convenient for a numbe of purposes and I carry some with me at all times. Cash is useful for person-to-person transactions on the spot, and as a safeguard against overdrawn accounts, broken electronic wallets and the debit card / ATM / CC verification server being down. If any of these happen to you while you're checking out in the supermarket, you'll be glad to be carrying soe cash.

      I think we will see a form of Internet (micro) payments such as Paypal coming into being in the next 25 years. It'll be less clunky and more fail-safe than Paypal as it will be run by proper banks and institutions. Most likely it will be seen as a regular banking transaction system, and be subject to the susual government regulations, scrutiny and taxes where applicable.
    • I think this is because a lot of the systems that do the donkey work of transaction processing and electronic money-moving are big old legacy batch-processing applications on big old irons.
      The cost of updating these systems (and the organisations that maintain them) would probably be horrific. I'm guessing that the value - in terms of profit - for the banks that would have to do it, rpobably just doesn't make it worth it.
  • I have to say that the web site for the summit has the flavour of both the snake-oil salesman and the loony right millenarian.

    All that is missing is the exhorting not to put your money under the bed - because that's where the commies are.
  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:04PM (#5265944) Homepage Journal
    "In-depth conference where thought leaders will debate cutting edge changes and visionary thinking in the world of money"
    - Future of Money Summit [futureofmoneysummit.com]

    It says "thought leaders" ... but my mind wants to see "loss leaders" ....
  • I can't find any reference to Dee Hock having won a Nobel prize. Searching the Nobel e-Museum [nobel.se] doesn't find him.

    Is Slashdot in the business of granting Nobel prizes now?

  • by fobside ( 140397 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:07PM (#5265969) Homepage
    Have any of you gone shopping for things when you have no paper money on you? It's so much easier to write a check, swipe a credit card, even a debit card. If paper money is eliminated, sure it's less to deal with, but I think people will start spending their cash and draining their savings. Just look at credit cards. Before credit cards, credit problems didn't exist. You could only spend the money you actually had. Now, if they eliminate paper money in exchange for cards storing credits, people will just draing their cards so fast without thinking. They'll put more on them, then drain them again. It's great for the economy, but do you think we're really ready for this kind of responsibility? The amount of credit card debt says no.
  • How about one step forward and think about when all money in any form dissapears... When our first nano-appembles appear capable of creating exact duplicates of things, atom by atom, then we have a whole new bag of cats to deal with... How far away are those machines? How far away was the TV from the radio; the space shuttle from the first airplane? 25 years may bring a new world to us all.
  • Where does this Slashdot obsession with a cashless/e-gold/alternative currency come from?

    Money has been around for 3200 years [pbs.org]. Trade "I'll give you 2 sheep for one cow" has been around for thousands more.

    I remember hearing these "cashless society" arguments in 1980. I look in my wallet 23 years later, and I still have a wad of cash in there, along with a credit card and ATM card. Sure, much of my purchasing is electronic, but it's far from cashless.

    Now people are again saying "We'll be a cashless society in 25 years", and I still don't believe them. I've heard it before.

    It reminds me of the "computers will solve all your paperwork problems. We will be a paperless society in 25 years." Cash is not going away anytime soon just because some money-geeks think they found an alternative.

    As Ivanova from Babylon 5 said:
    "Every time somebody says we're coming into a paperless society, I get 10 more forms to fill out."
    • I agree. The society is not ready. Even right here in NYC, just go check out chinatown. They don't accept credit cards, much less check and debit. If you work here you get paid in cash in person. If you ask a store owner why they don't accept credit, they'll say that they don't trust it.
      • I DISagree. I have $6 in cash sitting in my wallet right now, and it's been there untouched for over a month because I rarely use paper money anymore.

        I live in Northern California, and everything is wired. I buy food and groceries using my ATM card. I pay my bills using EFT or checks. When my car needs gas, all of the pumps have built in readers. Even the local McDonalds, Wendy's, and Burger Kings have card readers at the counter. EVERY store I visit, from WalMart, to SaveMart(groceries), to the dingy little corner store run by the non-english speaking Punjabi down the street, has some type of card reader capable of processing electronic transactions. To be 100% honest, I can't even remember the last time I was in a store that didn't take plastic. In many areas, the cashless society is already here for those who choose to embrace it. For everyone else, it's just a matter of time.

        Kinda sucks when the power goes out though :\
        • To be 100% honest, I can't even remember the last time I was in a store that didn't take plastic.

          In the Bay Area, I find that some of the smaller hole-in-the-wall resturants and several of the larger produce stores don't take plastic. The food at the resturants is good, and the ATM is nearby, so I keep going.

          Some large places that don't take plastic: Zachary's Pizza in Oakland and Berkeley, Monterey Produce Market in Berkeley. Thousands of people go through each place every week, and the owner's attitude is "Plastic is a hassle, and 5% of purchases are fradulent, therefore I don't bother."
        • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @05:17PM (#5266389)
          Kinda sucks when the power goes out though :\

          Or, alternatively, when phone/telecommunications systems go down. Anyone who was in Manhattan on September 11th and the days immediately following will probably recall that many stores had either ceased accepting cards at all, or had set up special lines because only a few of their readers were working. This was due to the incredible call volumes that were jamming up the city's relatively limited numbers of long-distance circuits.

          Fortunately, most of the ATMs were up and running (though a few had run out of cash, because so many people were using them where previously they'd just relied on their check/credit cards.)

          I love my check card, but I'm pretty sure it won't be there for me on that occasion when I most desperately need it.

      • by xigxag ( 167441 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @05:23PM (#5266416)
        Oh, come on! The real reason they don't accept credit in Chinatown is that it would leave an indelible trail, and the marchants on Canal St. would be forced to declare their income and pay taxes on the sale of grey market and smuggled items.

        And taxes, my friend are the reason why the government would love to have a non-anonymous (nymous? nymful? identible?) cashless society, and every small businessman in existence would hate it. As would lovers of privacy and freedom, but that goes without saying, I hope.
    • I remember hearing these "cashless society" arguments in 1980. I look in my wallet 23 years later, and I still have a wad of cash in there

      Well, I wasn't around until '84, and my wallet is still just as empty.
    • Where does this Slashdot obsession with a cashless/e-gold/alternative currency come from?
      I don't know about Slashdot, but I have a good reason to be interested in cashless money transfer.

      I am a lazy programmer . I can write small python scripts, java applets and such, but I am too lazy to create a full blown app that anybody would pay more than 5 dollars for, especially without knowing if it catches on.

      Now if there was a system that would let me easily set up an account for collecting 10 cent fees without adding 1 dollar commission to each transfer, I could try to write some mini-apps (I actually have a few ideas for a 10 cent mini-apps) and see if people buy any of them. Well, if they did I could add some features and sell the lucky app for 20 cents per licence then and get rich :-)

      Well, with the current system I could ask people to send me coins in letters, but I think no one would bother, filling a secure web form is much easier.

      Feel free to answer with "business model" jokes, heh heh.

    • if i could pay to the doormen at nightclubs/bars/pubs with bankcard i wouldnt need cash at all anymore, maybe once in 5 weeks or so(when i need to ride the local bus or theres something else that costs under ~4 euros that i need to pay).

    • by Exiler ( 589908 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:57PM (#5266275)
      I just like a paperless bathroom, it only works for the Japanese.
    • What is money? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @05:12PM (#5266348)
      You are incorrect in associating paper with wealth. There is no connection. That dollar bill in your wallet is no more or less money than a digit in a Wells Fargo computer. Both represent a unit of confidence in the issuing body - the US government. That is all they represent. You cannot redeem that dollar bill for a fraction of preciou metal. You cannot redeem the bill for a piece of a brick of a government building. You are not assured of receiving a set unit of a foreign currency for it either. It is a fiat currency. It has no inherent value. The paper bill is simply a physical container for a fractional unit of confidence in the US government, nothing more or less.
    • by urbazewski ( 554143 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @05:12PM (#5266356) Homepage Journal
      I don't where slashdot gets the obsession, but a lot of the hype about e-money and a "cashless society" comes from financial institutions desire to be in the business of "creating alternative currency." When you put money in a bank, the bank loans it out to other people at interest. (This, of course, is how & why the bank pays you interest to deposit money.) Many ideas for e-money basically ask you to deposit money in a bank or somewhere else (though it goes under the label of "putting money on the card") with zero interest. The French cards discussed earler today were like that, they get your cash now, you get to spend the money later. Traveller's checks are like that also --- most of the revenue comes from interest American Express collects between in the time elapsed between when the checks are bought and when they are spent. (At least traveller's checks provide some insurance --- few money cards do.) Of course, a traveller's check issuer will not typically loan the money out themselves, they will invest in financial instruments that derive their ultimate value from loans or direct investment.

      I'm not sure what the banking requirements for e-money schemes would be like, but banks are only required to keep a small fraction of deposits in reserve. If that applied to e-money as well it would expand the investment options for the money collected by e-money firms.

      Of course, consumers understand this logic perfectly well --- why should I pay for the privilege of spending my own money? why not just use a debit card and cut out the intermediate steps? That's one reason why these ideas have been floating around since the 1980's without really catching on.

      My point: a lot of hype about a "cashless society" is coming from firms with an interest in replacing the current system with one in which they effectively "issue currency" and make money off of the float, as well as from percentage based and flat fees. They don't mean "cashless"--they mean "use our cash instead of theirs."

      arrrggh, I never thought it would come to this, but...

      1) issue alternative currency
      2) ????
      3) Profit!

      except that in this case ????? = collect interest.

      blog-O-rama [annmariabell.com]

  • So is this just to put us all on notice that some rich people are going to get together to talk about money?

    I'll consider myself informed, but forgive me for not participating in the random posts that will result.
  • I knew all that salt I was hoarding would come good again one day !!!
  • I was thinking recently about the various currencies I have with which to buy food.

    Mostly, of course, I can spend real, American dollars to get food (or anything else). But the money my parents paid for my meal plan at my college comes to me in the form of 9 meal credits per week and 150 "Entree Plus points" per semester. The Entree Plus points work like money, except that I can only spend them at certain places that, for the most part, only sell food.

    If you subtract $150 from the amount my parents paid for my meal plan, it leaves $13 or so per meal credit. So, when I go to the cafeteria and have a bowl of cereal, it costs my parents $13. Interestingly, when I go to the convenience store in a nearby dorm to cash in my meal credits for food, each credit buys me at most $4.55 worth of food.

    Basically, my school has two proprietary currencies. The irony is that wherever I can use one of those currencies, I can also use real money if I so choose. Next year methinks I'll go without a meal plan. The future of money: increased ease of use through open standards.
  • No Nobel Prize (Score:3, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:14PM (#5266035)
    Searching the article comes up with zero Nobel Prize winnoers.

    Ooops.

    • They do have a Nobel prize winner on their financial advisory board. Robert Mundell is the 1999 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science.

      The submission is unclear as to if a Nobel prize winner will be speaking. It just says he's been "tapped". I'll leave that for others to interpret.

  • They're hoping to answer questions like;[..]when will cash disappear?

    Why should it? It's like asking, when will paper books disappear? Paperless office anyone? I don't think cash is going to disappear, it's useful.

    when will our current banking system become obsolete?

    Oh, I know this one! Our current banking system will become obsolete at p:30pm on the 18th of March, 2019.

    and who gets to own money in the future?

    What??? Could the answer be - people who provide a product or service or which others are willing to pay??

    Can't these people think of some more sensible questions to ask?

  • That must have set them back a lot of Whuffie.
  • by cryptochrome ( 303529 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:17PM (#5266048) Journal
    Prediction: the ubiquity of the electronic infrastructure will make most of the functions of the modern bank obsolete. Simple transactions can be handled electronically for very little cost. Lending and saving transactions are more complicated, but in the right framework could probably be automated or even distributed to a high degree.

    There's no technological reason why you can't have a single card serving multiple functions - from Cash to ATM to Credit to ID to License to Portfolio - and while there's an obvious efficiency advantage there are big questions about counterfeiting, privacy, theft, reliability, and infrastructure-independent person-to-person transactions.

    The big question is how this would affect processes in place that control the creation and destruction of money, and whether newer systems could improve upon the existing one (money exists as a form of debt to a bank, which can create it through processes such as fractional lending). The big caveat is that banks are too rich to ever let anyone take over their business or take it in a direction they don't want. Make no mistake, they're in this for the money.

    Wonder who'll be at that conference?
  • a problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pummer ( 637413 )
    the problem with credit cards today is that people under 18 cannot have their own. How can we instill hardworking qualities in our young people while denying them the right to use their money as they choose?
    • Re:a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:35PM (#5266155) Homepage Journal
      How can we instill hardworking qualities in our young people while denying them the right to use their money as they choose?
      Because it's not their money. It's the bank's money, and they are just loaning it. I don't know anyone under 18 that I'd loan money to.

      People under 18 can have checking accounts. That's how you learn how to manage money, by having a finite amount to manage, not by having some open-ended letter of credit.

      • People under 18 can have checking accounts.

        Not everywhere. I had a bad experience with this, myself. When I was about to start college, my mom went with me to get a checking account. We went to a local branch of a national chain of banks (so I would be able to access it easily at school as well as at home).

        Because I wasn't 18 yet, they wouldn't let me have a checking account. Period. Not even if my mother co-signed for it.

        Now, I was about to go to college. When I'm 400 miles away, I have to pay some of my own expenses, like books and non-cafeteria food. I wasn't asking for a credit card, just a way to write checks and pay my bills.

        I ended up getting a checking account (with a debit card, no less) from my parents' credit union. It was the only place I found where a minor could have a checking account - and I didn't even need a co-sign. Unfortunately, they're only in my hometown - but their level of service makes them worthwhile to me. And I still remember that none of those other banks would give me an account 4 years ago.
    • Yes they can however they need someone over 18 who is actually responsible for it, the under 18 does not pay thier bill the over 18 is responsible for paying it.
      The credit card companies got alot of flack a few years ago (4-5) because they were directly advertising to middle and high school students to get thier own credit cards complete with middle and high school designs on the cards, just get one of your parents to sign and had it.
    • the problem with credit cards today is that people under 18 cannot have their own.

      You can get a debit card from your bank. The reason it's illegal to give you credit (not that anyone would anyway) is that it's illegal for a minor to enter *any* kind of contract. You could maybe get one if your folks cosigned.

      Being a teenager sucks, especially if you're ready to be independent. It gets better though. Just try to enjoy being 18 while you can!
      • The reason it's illegal to give you credit (not that anyone would anyway) is that it's illegal for a minor to enter *any* kind of contract. You could maybe get one if your folks cosigned.

        I've always been baffled by people saying "you can't get a credit card until you're 18" stuff. I had a credit card during my entire senior year in high school and I didn't turn 18 until the summer after. Maybe Mastercard made a mistake or something but it sure made buying crap a lot easier. It's possible that one of my parents co-signed -- I honestly don't remember. But I never had any problems with it. In fact, I'm now in my early 30s and I still have the same damn card! (of course, I have multiple cards nowdays).

        GMD

    • visa electron..

      also there was already an cash-card expirement sort of in finland, where you would have cards you could load up at atm. though theres been little fuss about it lately, since only few places got the machines needed for it's operation (best place to use it was mcdonalds), and now with visa electron everywhere theres no point in using the 'old' cashcard system.

      visa electron verifies that the money is on the account before every transaction so there is no credit issues with it. and it works around the world easily as well..
  • by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:18PM (#5266058) Homepage
    what kind of money you'll be putting into vending machines 25 years from now

    I already rely on cash only as much as absolutely necessary. With a debit card, I can pay for any credit card transaction directly out of my checking account, and more and more places are accepting credit cards every day. Hell, in bigger cities, you can even use a credit card in places like a Jack in the Box drive thru. In 25 years it'll be even more pervasive.

    Some places now are even supporting debit cards directly and require me to enter my PIN... all the better, that extra layer of security is a little comforting. If my card is ever stolen though, I'm limited in liability to $50, thanks to credit card laws that apply even though it technically isn't a credit card, and I keep a little nest egg tucked away in an unrelated account to tide me over while the bank tracks down and fixes any unauthorized use of my main account.

    Sure, it's not exactly a model of privacy since every purchase I make is logged on my account, but I consider the security of my money more important as a real issue than the nebulous fear that someone, somewhere is going to exploit the fact that I like buying cheeseburgers for lunch.
    • Sure, in the case of fraud, you're limited in liability to $50... but only once it's all said and done. In the meantime, you are actually out whatever the fradulent charges are.

      Here's an example. Your paycheck is deposited, putting your account at $1500. The next day, someone goes and fradulently buys some stuff, say $1500 worth. Your account balance is now $0. If you report the incident, your balance will still be $0. Not until everything is tracked down will you get your $1500 back. In the meantime, I hope you have some savings, since your rent and phone bill will still come due.

      Solution? Always use a credit card. In that case, it's the bank's money that's gone missing. And, suddenly, they're much more interested in recovering it.

  • Is it me? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Or is Vint Cerf in the link below looking more and more like Saruman the White?

    http://www.futureofmoneysummit.com/advisoryboard.p hp [futureofmoneysummit.com]

  • I thought the future of money was gold-pressed latinum. Slips, strips, bars, and bricks!
  • by davinc ( 575029 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:34PM (#5266149)

    E-money is the ultimate form of Fiat if you ask me. All fiat has a history of corruption and collapse (the american dollar and other world currencies are heading that way as well). Fiat money is the money of the statist, since it allows those in charge of the press to create as much money as they need, while dilluting what the rest of us hold.

    The question isn't "what form will money be in", the question should be "what assets will back our money". I don't care if its in the form of rice crispies, as long as it is backed by an asset (gold, food, land, space rocks) and has real value.

  • Maybe an evolution of what was covered in this previous slashdot story [slashdot.org] would be the right thing. Is anonymous, requires not so high tech, and in the current form is in use in several countries. To be more practical maybe it should be not so "dumb" as actual smart cards, maybe providing a way to transfer money from card to card directly and safely (PDAs?)

    But still will be based in the way we see money today, even if exist better conceptual ways to give value to work, ideas, etc, the actual economy is very based in the money per se, not in actual value of things.

    The other thing I believe that could change (maybe in more than 25 year) is some way of unified money and values around the world, that the same product cost the same anywhere (in similar amount of hours of work or something like that, no mean US dollars)

  • The current conception of money as an asset will not disappear in our lifetimes. It is presumably an intermediate step between barter and the next best thing. The limitations of the barter system were obvious: you had to find somebody who not only had what you wanted but also wanted what you had in order to make a trade. The idea of money was a result of that. People needed a standard for trade, and marked coins (at first) and paper (later) are it.

    Where will the idea go from here? Well, we have to ask ourselves what the problem with the money system is for that. We have gotten off of the gold standard (or other standards, for other currencies), so there is nothing but consumer confidence holding up any currency's value now. The only steps to be taken from here are to further consolidate world currencies into a single, accepted currency.

    But will it be the dollar or the euro, and will wars be fought over it? I have a feeling that many stubborn states with long-established monetary systems will never be friendly to the idea of a universal monetary unit, especially one that emphasizes the weakness of their economy.

    Gah... I could ramble on and on. I'll stop here though. :-)

  • Dee Hock (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:43PM (#5266201) Homepage
    Dee Hock is a great guy, but not a Nobel Prize winner.

    It's worth reading Dee Hock's writings. He sounds like a collectivist nutcase at first. But this is the guy who designed how Visa, the organization, works. He got all the big banks to sign on. And he was a mid-level guy at a small bank when he did it.

    Few people outside the banking industry understand what Visa really is, let alone how it's organized and governed. Internet people should. It's a good model for shared infrastructure, like Internet backbones.

    Visa is a major corporation organized as a cooperative. Its members, and owners, are banks. Visa sets standards and runs the backbone network that transfers credit card transactions between banks. Visa doesn't issue credit cards or do financial transactions itself.

    The details of how that works politically are complex. Yet it does work, and a lot better than, say, ICANN. I'm not going into how it's done; read Dee Hock's book.

  • by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Sunday February 09, 2003 @04:50PM (#5266237) Journal
    I hope all of you /.ers see the consequences here. Firstly without cash the govt will know eveything you buy and when you buy it. Also all of a sudden all of these banks and other get a peice of your money for the 'convience' of not using cash.. and then when it catches on they will charge you for the privilidge of using cash. If you recall, when ATMs first came out they were all free to use because it saved the banks money as oposed to have everyone seeing bank tellers. Then they started to charge you to use the bank tellers because it cost them more then if you used the ATM. Then they charge you to use the ATM as a convience fee. So you are going to be charged a fee to replace your card that has an intentional limited life span, you will be charged to transfer funds to it, you will be charged an electronic transaction fee when you use it. Its like an infinite infusion of middlemen.
  • I am leery of replacing money with anything else. Money, cold cash, is anonymous. One can purchase something without a paper trail pointing at you. Credit cards, check cards...they all scream your name and just give fodder to databanks that can be used to profile you, violate your privacy, or feed the tyranny of the Patriot Act I and II. No thank you.


    If you insist on replacing money with something else, that something else better include an anonymous form equivalent to cash or it just wont cut it.

  • This is old news. Paper cash already has diminished to something like 13% of all transactions. It is only a mainstay in "under the table" transactions and crime.

    As for banking, there will continue to be a roll for credit extension agencies for years to come. The fractional reserve system of banking is both a source of great potential peril and great potential growth in the economy - our entire system of lending based on it. It extends all the way back to the Fed, which by law is empowered to create cash accounts out of thin air to redeem treasury notes from lending institutions.

  • Anonymous eCash (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fal13n ( 558514 )
    David Friedman describes a type of encryption based, fully anonymous eCash [daviddfriedman.com] (scroll up a few lines) in his draft of Future Imperfect. The system would allow banks to issue a type of digital certificate that could be used as money, without revealing the buyer to the seller, the seller to the buyer, or the either to the bank. It also keeps government from messing with the money supply.

    The whole draft is very interesting reading, but this is one of the most interesting parts. This is what I'm hoping the future of money will be like. The best part is we don't have to rely on "powerful people making powerful decisions" in order to implement it.
  • One step closer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 )
    One thing that tells me we are a step closer is this: Last time I was back in Canada, people reacted weird to cash. They get nervous around it... they get weird when they see a bunch of it. It's not a normal thing for them anymore.

    I had $300 in my wallet. Someone told me I was "crazy to carry that much around". IN fact, it's not much at all in the grand scheme of htings.
  • by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <research@aceretail.com> on Sunday February 09, 2003 @05:37PM (#5266509)
    And here's how you do it.

    Announce the creation of one billion units of open source money. These units grow at 3 percent per year, so they are called Threeps.

    Publish certificates for these threeps, and, check this, publish BOTH keys for the certificates because they are made from some open source PRNG seeded by a prominent trans infinite number like Pi or the square root of root or Pi XOR the square root of two etc.

    The neat bit of this is anyone can verify the keys but can only change them by changing the value of Pi etc.

    Issue a new certificate every day for new Threeps such that after one year there's one billion, 30 million of them.

    In order to do this you multiply the current amount of threeps by 1.03 to the 365 root which is .0000809862990531184697007636827

    Continue as necessary.

    Note - if this doesn't work, that is, if someone shoots a hole in it, lets fix it and impliment it anyways.

  • Banking systems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <gorkon@@@gmail...com> on Sunday February 09, 2003 @05:49PM (#5266588)
    The existing banking system will continue ad infinitium because there's too much money to be made the way things are now. Noone would ever propose something different because they can already quantify the amount of money they make now. There would be too much risk in something different.

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.

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