Bitcoin and the illusion of money But I was a stubborn holdout. But there were a couple of reasons why I kept using physical money and avoided getting into e-payments and e-wallets.
- A British gold sovereign Many items have been used as commodity money such as naturally scarce precious metalsconch shellsbarleybeads, etc.
- Мне же хочется подчеркнуть, что в то же самое время есть и механизмы, которые сохраняют нашу социальную структуру.
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Firstly, it felt safer. Having physical cash just felt safer. Secondly, I feared that by moving to electronic payments, and losing the greater friction of paying with cash, I e and where the money is made end up spending more. I was afraid that by losing the tangible, visible qualities of paper money, and the physical transaction — of fishing out my wallet, finding the required bills, and handing over the cash — I would lose all sense of how much, day by day, I would be spending.
Were these fears justified?
Electronic money refers to money that exists in banking computer systems that may be used to facilitate electronic transactions.
As more and more people across the world shun cash, these are essential issues to consider. Money is an abstract concept — and today we take it for granted, not considering how a piece of paper, or pieces of metal, are valuable items in themselves.
But money is a relatively recent invention, and it represented a fundamental change in human society, says Natacha Postel-Vinay, who teaches a course in the history of money and finance at the London School of Economics.
You just needed some silver.
The first recorded use of money was in ancient Iraq and Syria, in the Babylon civilisation, around BC. In Babylonian times people used chunks of silver which were accounted according to a standardised weight known as a shekel. From Babylon, we have records of the first prices, recorded by priests at the Temple of Marduk, as well as the first ledgers and the first debts. From Babylon we have many of the essential things required for a monetary economy.
These include the fact the silver was regularly tested for its fineness and there was a stabilising force, such as a King or government, which people could trust to guarantee the value of the money. But there have been many developments in money along the way. From about BC other civilisations were using precious metal, and in ancient Greece, in the Kingdom of Lydia, the first coins were minted.
Currency can be exchanged electronically using debit cards and credit cards using electronic funds transfer at point of sale. Mobile digital wallets A number of electronic money systems use contactless payment transfer in order to facilitate easy payment and give the payee more confidence in not letting go of their electronic wallet during the transaction. In JanuaryVenmo launched as a mobile payment system through SMS, which transformed into a social app where friends can pay each other for minor expenses like a cup of coffee, rent and pay a share of the restaurant bill when one has forgotten their wallet. The wallet can be charged with regular bank accounts or cards and discharged by participating retailers using a technique known as 'money messages'.
Nowadays, money is not tied to physical objects that are in themselves valuable commodities, such as gold or silver coins, but we use a form called fiat money which is a currency that a government has established as legal tender.
The concept of credit and debt existed long before credit cards were invented. Subsequently, credit cards were promoted to travelling salesmen, for them to use while on the road, in America.
The first debit card appeared in the UK in Chip and pin was introduced inand contactless credit cards followed four years later. Just five years ago I paid my rent in cash! From aroundadoption of e-payments in day-to-day usage became much more prevalent.
Countries that have the highest rates of cashless spending include Canadawhere having more than two credits cards per person is a norm. Emelie Svensson, a Swede who works in New York City as a broadcast journalist, says the two countries are very different when it comes to the use of cash.
For Moa Carlsson, a year-old butcher from Gothenburg, the country feels quaint in comparison to her native Sweden.
I would almost feel strange not to use cash there. For people who live in these increasingly cashless societies, the benefits of electronic payment are obvious. Like Carlsson, he says dealing in cash feels antiquated. Does e and where the money is made without using physical cash make people spend more?
But what of the supposed disadvantages? This is a complicated question and it involves seeing humans as fundamentally irrational creatures, in various ways. In other words, the pain of the loss stings more, even though the two sums are exactly the same. This kind of psychological insight has powered enormous change in the field of economics.
Whereas before, in classical economics, academics based their theories on the assumption that people behave rationally so that the loss and gain of an equal sum would be treated the same by an individualthis was shown to be false by psychological studies. This led to the discipline of behavioural economics and branches such as consumer psychology. The MIT professor once conducted a study that involved a silent auction.
The auction was held for students at the prestigious Sloan business school, for tickets to sold-out NBA basketball games. The researchers told half the bidders they could pay only with cash, while the other half were told they could pay only with a credit card.
The results astonished the researchers.
On average, it was found that the credit card buyers were bidding more than twice as much as the cash buyers. What this means, according to Prelec, is that the psychological cost of spending a dollar on a credit card is only 50 cents. Opton binary options on a credit card clearly has effects on how people spend, which numerous studies have borne out.
So much so, in fact, that behavioural economists believe this explains the continuing popularity of debit cards. But what about using e-wallets? Neural pathways light up almost like brief physical pain when we part with our money With credit cards, the pain of payment is delayed until that monthly bill arrives, anyway. The great ability of credit cards, in other words, is that they wield the psychological power of separating the pleasure of buying from the pain of paying.
But with e-wallets, users can see that money is deducted immediately. This is instant feedback and so does not have the same effect as a credit card. Although there is no similar research yet on paying with e-wallets, it could be hypothesised that the flinch moment could be missing when paying with a smartphone.
But this needs more research. Prepayment is another method, even when there is no financial advantage. Companies such as Club Med have latched onto this kind of psychology, where their resort guests buy plastic chips to use instead of cash.
For me, I eventually transitioned to using e-payments in Beijing. It is like living in a world where you get all the benefits of spending, without the pain of paying. Perhaps this is better for economies, where it could be beneficial if people spend their money more freely, and many governments around the world are trying to encourage this. In other words, I might be feeling this uneasiness because I am imagining that I could be spending that money on other things instead.
As more societies move from cash-based to cashless, the way we spend might change. But money will remain a governing force in the lives of humans.
Weird West This article is part of our Weird West series. Back ina team at the University of British Columbia pointed out that psychology research contains a major flaw: much of it is based on samples entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic — or Weird — societies.
The researchers often assumed that their findings would be applicable to people anywhere.
Both e-money and e-wallet have something in common. They are both digitalized system of payment. E-money is a chip-based system of payment in which all the data is stored in a chip and takes the form of a card.
In this series, we dig into what this looks like in everyday life. What habits and ways of thinking are common where you can make money very quickly Weird societies that people living elsewhere in the world might find, well, weird?
And what does this tell us, not only about cultural differences, but about ourselves?