Money is still morphing and transforming

Sunil Rajguru
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For thousands of years the main forms of global monetary exchange were barter and gold. For hundreds of years banking remained static. The same paper notes, paper cheques and your local friendly neighbourhood bank branch. The two big revolutions of the twentieth century were the credit card and the ATM. But they also took some time to fully spread in developing countries and today there are still crores of Indians, especially in rural areas, who have used neither. The ATM cum debit card has been a hit in urban India though.


A big game changer at the turn of the century was online banking. Initially it had limited functions, but with the passage of time you could do almost anything with your online account. The linkage of your bank card details, and the addition of the mobile OTP made things even safer. Banks themselves went smart but still encouraged customers to stay at home. Bank executives started using the tab to simplify things further.

The real revolution at the turn of the decade into the 2010s was blockchain money. It started with Bitcoin, but soon the cryptocurrencies mushroomed. People think it's a passing fad and talk of recent crashes, but a point to be noted is that they were worth zero in the 2000s and are worth trillions of dollars in the 2020s.

They give freedom from big banks, governments and the global world order. Nobody even knows who created Bitcoin. But a parallel economy sprung up where collectively you could trade trillions of dollars free from the above-mentioned authorities.


Then came mobile money like Paytm and such startups sprung up all over the world. A real game changer in India was the UPI which has embraced Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, Amazon Pay etc. All this has been so successful, that almost every government in the world will be coming out with its own digital currency.

This will all be supersized by Artificial Intelligence which will decide your credit score, detect frauds and anomalies in the financial system and maybe even be an advisor to the global financial system.

Everything is going virtual. Your identity. Your money. Your bank account. Today you can pay with your smartphone. In China you can pay with your face. In certain countries you can pay with a chip embedded in your body. Where this will end nobody knows.

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