The Post-Cash, Post-Credit-Card Economy
A BRITISH start-up, called Blockchain, offers a free iPhone application allowing customers to use a crypto-currency called bitcoins, which users can mint on their computers.
It is still early days for each of these companies, and as the Pew survey suggests, it is difficult to say whether they will gain widespread acceptance or freak people out — or whether, indeed, they will improve our well-being. With so much vital data in our cellphones, what happens when we lose them? Could we one day load up the cellphones of our teenage children with money for cab rides but not beer? Would cash be reserved for purchases of sex, drugs and, in repressive countries, banned books? Or just for people with bad digital reputations?