Will physical money disappear?

Digital means of payment, cryptocurrencies, digital currencies promoted by central banks themselves… All of these are increasingly pushing physical money into the background as a tool for exchanging goods and services. Here are some of the keys to how the international monetary system is changing.


In 2020, covid-19 led to cards overtaking cash as the preferred means of payment for citizens in many countries for the first time. In the UK, for example, the use of cash was halved.

The monetary system is in the midst of a transformation process with the emergence of cryptocurrencies and even the creation of digital currencies driven by central banks themselves. In this context, the days of physical currency appear to be numbered.

Although cash is reluctant to cease being the main tool for buying and selling, it is estimated that physical money currently only accounts for between 5% and 8% of all the money that nominally exists on the planet. In just a few years the financial markets have been flooded with new products, currencies and assets of all kinds.

Just as the first coins minted by goldsmiths changed the economic systems of ancient societies, the electronic money will change the economy as we know it today. As 11Onze agent Laura Buñol explains, in this new stage of globalisation, it seems that “the system wants to make structural changes”.

Towards digital currencies

The popularisation of the Internet and mobile telephony together with the rise of cryptocurrencies are pushing us towards a world of digital money that will mean “the death of physical money“. In fact, as Laura Buñol explains, in 2019 the then governor of the Bank of England “already proposed the creation of a global digital currency, supported by various central banks”, which would replace the dollar as the world’s reference currency.

Sweden already has an e-krona in the testing phase, which is used for some transactions. And both in the United States and in Europe, studies are underway related to the implementation of digital currencies. In fact, there is already a project for a digital euro, as explained in the article “The digital euro, the end of physical money?

There are still many unknowns about what digital currencies will be like, but it seems that, like cryptocurrencies, they will also be based on the blockchain to guarantee security. In any case, the encryption of their codes will not be designed to remain outside the surveillance of central banks. And it seems that it will be a useful resource for governments to crack down on the shadow economy.


The role of central banks

Central banks cannot ignore the progression of cryptocurrencies, so they have to adapt to the new times or they will lose their sense of meaning and “eventually cease to exist”, as Laura Buñol points out. States cannot afford to lose control of monetary policies.

In fact, the traditional financial system is working hard to regulate and incorporate cryptocurrencies into its operating logic. The establishment knows that, if it does not do so, it risks being pushed into a corner in the global economic landscape.

Everything points to the fact that, as Buñol points out, in the not too distant future we will probably have to look for alternative formulas to heads or tails or the current system of unblocking supermarket trolleys.


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

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  1. Joan Santacruz CarlúsJoan Santacruz Carlús says:
  2. Jordi

    Segur. Estaria bé que onze tingués criptomonedes tambe

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Segur que les tindrem més endavant, quan el mercat de les criptomonedes estigui regulat pel Banc Central Europeu. Moltes gràcies pel teu comentari, Jordi!!!

      7 months ago
  3. Manuel Bullich BuenoManuel Bullich Bueno says:

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