The death of cash by way of digital currency

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For the better part of a week, the idea of paying-as-you-go has been dominated by the buzz over the MintChip, the Canadian Mint's project to find the best digital currency to replace cash. The currencies of a number of countries are already ahead of us but the critics are thinking ahead too and raising fears of everything from surveillance and lack of privacy, to a new form of electronic warfare. Today, we're calculating the reality of a fully Cashless Society. 

Part Two of The Current

The death of cash by way of digital currency - Digital Currency Expert

As the penny drops, so may the rest of Canada's currency. The Royal Canadian Mint is experimenting with new technology for transactions as small as one dollar that could put an end to cash. We aired a new promotional video from the Royal Canadian Mint. The MintChip is still in development.

But in the hopes of getting the project running on every smartphone in the country, the Mint offers $50,000 worth of gold for the best software app to use the technology. Is there a future where we just "press" for cash? Our next guest certainly thinks so. David Birch is a director at Consult Hyperion and a digital currency expert. He was in London, England.

The death of cash by way of digital currency - Sweden's cash-free economy

If ABBA thought money was funny in Sweden in 1976, it must think it's hilarious now. Bills and coins represent only 3 per cent of Sweden's economy. And that's fine with ABBA bandmember Bjoern Ulvaeus. He's a fierce advocate for going cashless. His son was robbed three times, and he believes a cash free society would cut back on crime... some crimes anyway.

We asked freelance journalist Sven Carlsson to catch up with some of the residents in Stockholm who are already accustomed to living their daily lives virtually cash-free. Included in those sounds from Stockholm -- a woman using a "collectomat" machine that takes card payments on behalf of the church ... a subway commuter talking about her preference for cards instead of cash ... and a bus driver explaining why he doesn't accept cash fares.

While most Swedes use digital currency, and many find it convenient ... our next guest thinks Sweden's nearly cash-free economy has its problems. Alex Newman lives in Sweden. He's the President of Liberty Sentinel Media, a small media and consulting firm, as well as an educator and freelance writer. We reached him in BĂ„lsta, which is about an hour north of Stockholm.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Shannon Higgins.

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