Fletcher in the News

Gauging the Adoption of Digital Money Worldwide: Cost of Cash Study Highlighted in WSJ

Cost of Cash, The Fletcher School, IGBC

Last month I attended the 2014 Digital Money Symposium in London, co-sponsored by Citi and Imperial College. The Symposium convened a group of leaders in their fields to explore the state of adoption of digital money and its economic and societal impacts around the world. This is the second such Digital Money Symposium, the first one having taken place in London in January of 2013.

I was a part of the Citi-Imperial team that organized the event. For this year’s Symposium, we developed a framework that would enable us to discuss the state of adoption of digital money on a more data-driven, scientific basis. We looked at digital money as a highly complex sociotechnical ecosystem, that is, a technology-intensive system that has major societal, economic and political implications, like cities, healthcare and education. To help us begin to quantify and understand this ecosystem, we developed the Digital Money Readiness Index, a set of global metrics that enables us to link digital money adoption to various measures of socio-economic development…

…For business, digital money improves productivity by reducing the costs of handling cash, as well as providing the opportunity of revenue growth from existing customers and access to new customers. The report cites a study by The Fletcher School at Tufts University which estimates the cost of handling cash to US business at ~ $55 billion.

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