For ages, money has meant little metal disks and rectangular slips of paper.
Yet the usefulness of physical money—to say nothing of its value—is coming
under fire as never before. Intrigued by the distinct possibility that cash
will soon disappear, author and "Wired" contributing editor
David Wolman sets out to investigate the future of money…and how it will
affect your wallet.
Wolman begins his journey by
deciding to shun cash for an entire year—a surprisingly successful experiment
(with a couple of notable exceptions). He then ventures forth to find
people and technologies that illuminate the road ahead. In Honolulu, he
drinks Mai Tais with Bernard von NotHaus, a convicted counterfeiter and
alternative-currency evangelist whom government prosecutors have labeled a
domestic terrorist. In Tokyo, he sneaks a peek at the latest
anti-counterfeiting wizardry, while puzzling over the fact that banknote
forgers depend on society's addiction to cash.
downtrodden Oregon town, he mingles with obsessive coin
collectors—the people who are supposed to love cash the most, yet don't. And in
rural Georgia, he examines why some people feel the end of cash is
Armageddon’s warm-up act. After stops at the Digital Money Forum in London
and Iceland’s central bank, Wolman flies to Delhi, where he sees first-hand how
cash penalizes the poor more than anyone—and how mobile technologies promise to
Told with verve and wit, "The End of
explores an aspect of our daily lives so fundamental that we
rarely stop to think about it. You’ll never look at a dollar bill the same