This week I bought some essential ‘stuff’ at the Infinite Loop Apple store in Cupertino. I paid for the essentials with my iPhone using ApplePay. All very seamless and simple. Science fiction in some ways.
But, as my last blog hinted, San Francisco and the Bay area have a massive problem with homelessness. And, it seems to me, an issue of a polarised society of rich and poor. One the one hand people who, like me, can buy things with their phone. On the other a group of people who have neither a phone or money. If they do have money it’s from begging and they probably have a pocket of coppers at best.
So if our generation are moving away from cash gradually, the next generation certainly are – if they haven’t already. The generation after them will wonder what the fuss about these new fangled plastic fivers was all about?
Which begs the question – what about those who do not have a bank account for a contactless card – or even a phone to set up ApplePay. Whilst it may be a desirable outcome of electronic money to reduce fraud and tax avoidance – it’s hard to see that it works for everyone. And for those it doesn’t work for – what next? The only real solution will be a return to bartering with an exchange of goods or services for an equivalent benefit. But again, some of those homeless people I have seen this week are going to struggle with this concept.
The bitcoin isn’t going to work on the streets of San Francisco -or any other street for that matter?