Digital money is nothing new—debit and credit cards have been with us for years. What’s changed is its pervasiveness. With fewer people carrying paper money, and with some places no longer accepting it, we’ve become ever more reliant on electronic cash provided by commercial institutions, from PayPal to Visa.
As physical cash goes away, so do the properties that make it special. Cash allows people to transact without a bank account, without fees, and without a middle man in the way of their access to currency issued directly by the central bank, the lender of last resort and the bedrock of the financial system.
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