As late as 2012, before mobile payments took off in earnest, 96% of payments transacted in China were in cash. Today, China’s Alipay, the largest such system globally, has one billion users around the world. That prompted Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to acknowledge in his 2017 National Day Rally speech that China has been leading the way in the e-payment space, even as the Singapore government was rolling out the Smart Nation initiative.
Most people are very familiar with the benefits of a cashless society by now. Hardly a day passes without the media around the world reminding readers of how e-payments can bring about a decrease in the transaction costs that are associated with the handling of cash, or how businesses can gain consumer insights from data collected from e-payment transactions.
Applying fair trade concepts more widely across industry, promoting cooperatives, and sharing financial expertise with grassroots organisations are all ways in which the finance community can help towards meeting the 2030 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Liberals once believed that the retreat of globalisation would be akin to water flowing uphill. When asked in 2007 which US presidential candidate he was supporting in the forthcoming election, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chair, remarked: “We are fortunate that, thanks to globalisation, policy decisions in the US have been largely replaced by global market forces.
The most well-known ‘virtual’ currency is Bitcoin. Like all digital currencies it’s based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to deal directly with each other without needing a trusted third party [...]
Across the world, reserves of cash are dwindling. In some countries, mobile and contactless payments are more the norm than traditional legal tender. Oliver Griffin explores whether or not we are destined for a fully cashless future.
Ian Livingston admits one of his defining traits is an impatience to make things happen. “It’s a belief, a knowledge, that things don’t have to be the way they are – you can change things if you are passionate, you care and you are willing to put in the hard work.”