The world is rapidly entering an era of new money gradually shaping the new world order. Cash is increasingly becoming a mystifying artifact of a bygone era. For centuries past, money as a medium of exchange has evolved and continues to evovle. Societies addiction to cash is gradually weaning. To a lucky few money is no object and to many others money is an object – tearable, flammable or even wearable.Money has also been an object of obsession , inquiry, aspiration, remorse, delight, disdain, curiousity and just about any sentiment imaginable. It has been represented by little metal disks and rectangular strips of paper to credit and debit cards, checks , money orders, lottery tickets, gift cards and now in some cases ones and zeros on distant computer servers as e-money.

Perhaps the most important claim with regards to the importance of money to our everyday lives is that ‘’ money makes the world go round’’ or a deeper insight is the biblical warning ‘’the love of money is the root of all evil’’, later coined by George Bernard Shaw as ‘’ the lack of money is the root of all evil’’. To many economists like Keynes, money has been viewed as a lubricant that greases the gears of economic activities and that it plays a key role in influencing the behavior of the economy. The quantitative theory of money and the role of financial institutions have helped economist in determining money supply, reducing unemployment and keeping inflation in check. Despite money’s dull text book definition – medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value and method of deferred payments, slide money under a microscope though, and it reveals a simultaneously petrifying and marvelous secret: its value lives and dies in our heads. As the writer and satirist Kurt Tucholsky once put it: ‘’Money has value because its universally accepted and it’s universally accepted because it has value’’.

''E pluribus Unum – out of many one’’ is a profound expression somewhat describing the direction in which money is heading. To preachers, pastors and prophets, there lies a strong connection between the money in our pockets and Satan’s grand plan to supplant God through money and controlling commerce. To have control of all transactions is to get rid of cash because cash transactions are anonymous and untraceable and that putting an end to it will help the Beast seize the reigns of the economy. To some the idea of a Beast, microchip implants for transactions and the Armageddon is only a bizarre hocus pocus conspiracy however people’s fears about controlled commerce isn’t confined to such oddities. In recent times, a certain Spanish resort allows patrons to implant microchips under the skin to make transactions simpler and Swedish commuters are using implanted microchips to pay for their journey as concerns over security and privacy are raised. Also, technology firm Hitachi in Tokyo is developing biometric devices for seamless transactions that uses the unique three-dimensional pattern of the veins within every person’s fingertip.

In sub Saharan Africa and across the African rift valley, the tech hub of Africa or the Silicon Valley of Africa, a new wave of technology is sweeping the continent. Fewer people are connected by landlines and rather have mobile phones as a more convenient way to stay connected. Emerging nations have bypassed the analogue age and have jumped straight into mobile digital networks. This has led to a new form of money known as mobile money which has widely been embraced. Kenya for example has pioneered a mobile technology economy that points to future trends in the rest of the world. Over half the population of Kenya use the M-Pesa mobile payment system, with monthly transactions exceeding $1.13 billion. Crypto-currencies , Bitcoins, the Wuffie Bank and Serios currency based on social network influence, and finally mobile money could probably deliver the final blow and become the angel of death to a dying cash economy signaling the coming of the Beast as feared by preachers and prophets. Yet mobile money technology and e-money is being heralded as one of the twenty-first century’s most promising weapons in the battle against poverty and terrorism. To be fair, I am a little reluctant to share my pro-digital sensibilities and hence will leave it to the readers to decide.


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