Which is Better Paper or Electronic Currency

Paper Money vs. Electronic Money


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I would define money as a form of currency that represents a store of labor or value (Davies, 2004), which can be exchanged for goods or services. Money does not have to be “backed” by anything—though some feel it should be backed by a standard such as gold, which is universally acknowledged as having value (Kemp, 2001). In actuality, one’s government has a natural right to coin its own currency and issue it to citizens. The fact that our government has given up this right to the central bank, from which it borrows money at interest signals that the true government of our nation is the central bank, since it possesses the authority formerly held by kings.


Extending from that fact is the idea that the “notes” we are issued from the bank have value—but the paper money (fiat, as it is called because the banks print it at will and loan it to our government) has done nothing but lose its value over the past century. One can easily look at where prices are today and where they used to be to see how the currency has been devalued.

Paper money will continue to be used by those who prefer to shop with it. Some people like having cash in their pocket which they can easily exchange for goods or services. They do not have to rely and electronic exchanges; or they do not want to have to pay for something using a credit card or bank card. Cash makes transactions simpler and also makes it harder for totalitarian governments to keep track of what you are spending money on. At the same time there are others who feel that electronic money is far simpler to use: one need not worry about always have cash in one’s pocket—a simple credit card or bank card will do the trick. One can also earn “points” or “cash back” by using a credit card, so there is that incentive as well. So there are good reasons on both sides, and I do not think we will see a dramatic drop in the use of paper money over the next five years—at least not any more than the rate has dropped in the past ten years.


I am in favor of using electronic money because it makes making purchases easier—for instance, at the gas pump, online, or anywhere one can pay with a kiosk—the exchange is quick and nearly instantaneous and cuts down on waiting in lines. It is also easy to track your own purchases because the electronic swipe keeps a record—so all you have to do is take a look at your account to see how much you are spending and what you are spending it on.


As for electronic currencies like cryptocurrency, I am not much of a fan. The cryptocurrencies are far too volatile and speculative in nature. People justify purchasing them because they fear the impact of central banks on fiat money (paper money), which is clearly losing its value quite rapidly (housing, rent, food, health, and education costs are all up substantially since the Fed unleashed its quantitative easing program following the 2008 economic crisis).


If we are talking about money as a store of value (Davies, 2004), I would rather hold on to physical precious metals such as gold and silver, because these at least keep track with inflation and have universal appeal no matter the age (Kemp, 2001). Yes, their value can be manipulated (as can nearly anything that is placed into the futures market) by bankers, traders, buyers and sellers—but over thousands of years their value has never really diminished. Will the USD be worth what it is today in 5 years time? I highly doubt it. I think this is why people rush into crypto or into other assets like stocks or real estate or PMs: they want out of paper money.


If electronic money is just the digital representation of that same paper, it stands to lose as much of its value over the next five years. Really if it is just a matter of identifying which is the preferred medium of exchange, neither has an advantage over the other unless one is merely concerned with expedience.



Davies, R. (2004). Origins of money and banking. Retrieved

from http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/origins.html

Kemp, J. (Jun 28, 2001). Our economy needs a golden anchor. Wall Street Journal.

(Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: pg. A.16

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