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Digital currency, the dollar bill, advantages and disadvantages

There have been various ways to provide payment for centuries; checks, bills, coins, IOU’s etc. However, in our current world, it is no secret that digital transactions have become progressively more frequent especially as the technological world has advanced. 

With the rising popularity of online transactions there has been a flourish of apps anyone with a bank account can use; Bitcoin, Cashapp, Paypal, Chime, and many more all with a certain set of benefits. 

There are many reasons why this has become somewhat of a social norm. For one, instead of having wallets stuffed to the brim with bills, coupons, and coins, all one has to do in order to access their bank account is unlock their phoneand open an app in order to make the necessary payments. 

…instead of having wallets stuffed to the brim with bills, coupons, and coins, all one has to do in order to access their bank account is unlock their phone…


They have also become easy to access with a large majority of today’s companies have adapted to fit this lifestyle, both online and in person. 

Paper currency is also notorious for being much more dangerous to carry in large amounts as it has a higher likelihood of being stolen. It can be used anytime by anyone, and without the aid of surveillance cameras, it is incapable of being traced back to the scene of the crime in order to find the perpetrator. 

Even without cash being harmful to those who possess it, the environmental effects of printing cash have always been left without a solution with the main reason being that for hundreds of years there was no alternative to the physical dollar.  

The process of printing money is, in short, very wasteful. This multi-day procedure requires obscene amounts of certain resources, such as water, and contributes to roughly 35% of deforestation. Printing money uses approximately 1.25 million gallons of water every day alongside the fact that the material is a blend of linen, cotton, pesticides, and even more water. 

It is also constantly having to be reprinted, as on average a single bill will only last around eighteen months. This is understandable considering the journey that the physical dollar makes in order to fulfill its purpose, however, that cannot excuse the undeniable impact it has every day that it continues to be produced. 

Though these benefits to online currency are prominent, there are also significant risks that should be considered before committing.  

The main reason users are concerned about digital currency in any form would be the risk of a cyber attack. It would be much easier for internet dwellers to access accounts without the consent of the owner, as it is still in production stages. This problem would need to be solved by investing immense sums of money into the security system in order to protect the piracy of the users.

In addition, there are also certain tracking issues associated with online transactions. Similar to the process of using a credit card, a record of what was bought on what date is recorded and stored by the central bank. This collection of data is likely to be unmonitored leaving it vulnerable to theft and can be shared to whomever the bank provides access. 

This record keeping process also gives the bank full ability to see what was purchased and unusual actions could be taken to a higher authority should the government find the purchases of a certain individual to be suspicious. These include receiving a fine or completely halting the account of the user.

This aspect could, in some ways, be considered beneficial. With the assistance of the ever prominent digital footprint, this could potentially prevent users from making or being involved with dangerous purchases.

The government would also have the ability to interfere in said purchases and safely apprehend the individual and any additional people involved. 

Despite this, it still stands that keeping records and reports of customer data is a serious privacy violation. Especially with the potential consequences of this tracking, there is a risk of causing a public uproar should any problems escape the hands of the company. 

An additional complication of the digital dollar would be general access to the public. These apps and services would only truly be available to those with smartphones. Though most of the population does have a phone, not all have the opportunity to buy a new phone just to be able to make a necessary purchase. 

There is also the problem of connection. If there happened to be any kind of internet issue in whatever building one might be inhabiting there is the possibility of dozens of people being completely unable to access their account.

It would also require those who run each site to be aware of all possible malfunctions in order to prevent bugs in the system from affecting all those who use the app. This would, again, depend upon the company having keen management and technology, as well as the necessary funds in order to allow thousands of users to simultaneously access the app without any sort of malfunctions occurring. 

With knowledge of both the positives and negatives of what digital currency could do for the world, the question still stands, ‘Will online transactions overtake the physical bill?’

Even though the digital world has been continuously expanding and developing far past what we could have imagined, there remains much work to be done surrounding technological developments in order to make them safe. 

Keeping up with the demands digital currency is to bring about would be a large task all of society would have to collectively address. Even with the advantages that are considered, as it stands cryptocurrencies remain too unstable to be properly transitioned into society without raising significant backlash. 

The dollar bill as it is has remained by society’s side for hundreds of years, and for the time being it will remain that way. The future of money is, as of now, quite murky with what is to come next in the world. Technology has been affecting the way humanity has been doing things for years and whether or not it will reach the dollar is something that we have yet to see. 


About the Contributor
Caitlyn Busig, Reporter