Modern Money Around The World

Posted December 9, 2019 in More


Technology changes everything, and the way we pay for things is no different. All around the world, advances in technology are changing the way people pay for everything from milk in the shops to train tickets. So what are some of the systems you might encounter if you’re travelling around this winter?

Paying By Phone Number In Scandinavia

Mobile money transfer has been around for years, and in Scandinavia, where almost no-one carries cash around, they’ve developed some simple, easy systems for private money transfer by telephone. In Sweden, Norway and Denmark, people can transfer money using simple number-based systems. Under this system, a user has their account and mobile phone number registered to their identity, and can therefore transfer and receive money by entering phone numbers as the receiver address, instead of an account number. Swish in Sweden, Vipps in Norway and MobilePay in Denmark provide these services, which are typically used for small transfers between friends, such as splitting a restaurant bill or paying a pal back for a beer.

Bitcoin in Switzerland

Bitcoin is maybe the most famous digital currency, having had its fair share of headlines since being launched by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2009. Bitcoin is mostly used by private actors to trade and purchase online on websites like trustedbrokerz, but local authorities and governments have also begun to wrestle with the currency. Zug is a small town in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. In 2016, the city became one of the first worldwide to allow payment of city fees via Bitcoin. Zug’s residents can, if they so choose, pay for train tickets and other small items through transfer of Bitcoin. The scheme is still a cautious one, as there is a maximum payment limit of 200 Swiss Francs, and all payments in Bitcoin received by the city are immediately transferred into stable Francs to guard against Bitcoin fluctuation, but it’s a sign of how virtual currencies are filtering into societies.  Zig is now known by some as ‘Crypto Valley’, due to the amount of cryptocurrency companies based in the city.

Sovereign Currency In The Marshall Islands

Elsewhere around the world, governments have committed even more to digital currencies. In the tiny Marshall Islands, a group of over 1500 islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the government became the first to launch its own cryptocurrency. The launched a cryptocurrency called The Sovereign in 2018, the first to be issued by a country and to become official legal tender in that country. Previously the US dollar had been the Islands’ legal tender, and the launch of the Sovereign is an attempt to reduce the Islands’ dependency on the dollar. The Islands’ version of cryptocurrency has some differences from Bitcoin –  it requires users to register their identity on a network called Yakwe, meaning that unlike Bitcoin, it’s a non-anonymous cryptocurrency.

Image Credit: Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash


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