Published on 9 April 2020

A taxonomy of the anti-cash lobby is not taxing.

First we have the frontrunners, dissing cash as part of a pump-and-dump strategy to make their own offerings fly commercially:

  • Crypto (but don’t mention eco to them: a single crypto transaction consumes the same electricity as Bridlington does in a year)
  • Fintechs proposing their digital or Open Banking offering
  • Regtechs proposing their AML/CFT filtering or scanning app which work best on non-cash business
  • AML/CFT consultants looking for the Change Management stream of the implementation of a Regtech application or service
  • Organisations that declare they have “partnered” with one or both of the major card brands, whereas actually they have become a franchisee – like a manager of a Subway outlet – and they are frontrunning the agenda of the franchisor, be it to sell more sandwiches or to get more card transactions
  • Conference, awards and events companies – frontrunners for airlines, hotels, bars and restaurants – with their 24×7 barrage of “it’s all kicking off”

Next we have the fellow travellers, intellectually sympathetic to the ideology of the destruction of cash, co-operating in its pursuit, without having any commercial fish to fry:

  • The National Economic Crime Centre – a misnomer as there is no centre, it’s an archipelago of the efforts of different organisations. The NECC has decided that cash usage must be an example of money laundering
  • Financial regulators – bouncing off the NECC and off the principals and frontrunners, and accepting that it’s all going digital, hence the advocacy of the UK’s New Payments Architecture as another priority in the Payment Systems Regulator’s 2020 plan
  • Competition regulators – seeing digital as a means of fostering new entrants and breaking down the market shares of big banks, hence Open Banking but also, amazingly, not seeing in Mastercard’s acquisition of Vocalink the emergence of a new threat to competition
  • National or international authorities charged with enabling the meeting of UN Development Goals, and accepting that the way these will be met is through Fintech, rather than on the back of cash

Finally we have the bloggers and other “useful idiots”, to use the term supposedly coined by Lenin: those propagandizing for the cause without fully comprehending the cause’s goals, and who are being used by the cause’s leaders. We will allow them to self-identify, as pond life, if they fail to find a higher phylum to assign their activities to.