WIRED Money, Together with BBVA preview: Q&A with David Wolman
By Catherine Lawson
Editor and author David Wolman will speak at WIRED Money, Together with BBVA, our landmark one-day summit at The British Museum on July 8th.
David is a contributing editor at WIRED and Matter and is the author, most recently, of The End of Money – a book about the diminishing role of cash in society. He has also written for such publications as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Nature and Outside.
He has won numerous awards and fellowships, including a National Magazine Award nomination for his reporting on Egypt’s revolution. His previous books are Firsthand, A Left-Hand Turn Around the World and Righting the Mother Tongue.
David, you’ll be speaking in The People Element session at WIRED Money alongside Shivani Siroya of InVenture and The Misfit Economy author, Alexa Clay.
What are you planning to speak about?
I’m going to talk about a few ideas relating to money that sound odd, misinformed, or downright crazy. And in some ways they are. Yet they can also be informative, both understanding money and transactions today, and for designing and implementing the FinTech of tomorrow.
What are you hoping to get out of speaking at WIRED Money?
Not much. I like the listening part. That being said, if some people approach me after the fact with anecdotes or ideas that help me refine, or completely revise, my thinking on something, that is always a good thing.
Who are you looking forward to hearing and/or meeting at WIRED Money?
The Blockchain nerds, for sure. I’m also very interested in TransferWise, as cross-border transaction friction irrestates me.
You wrote about the death of cash in your 2012 book, The End of Money. Reports in the British press claimed that the tipping point for cashless vs cash in the UK occurred in March 2015 when the number of cashless transactions finally surpassed cash ones. What are your predictions for the cashless economy over the next couple of years?
Even though ‘cashless’ works well in headlines, this is really a matter of degrees. Eliminating cash right now would be foolish. Many people and businesses still depend on it. What we’re talking about are the forces nudging it toward obsolescence. The Danish government’s recent proposal to let merchants refuse cash payments is one such nudge, just as countries eliminating small change is another, Apple Pay is another, and so forth.
My prediction is only that digital options will only expand and improve, making cash less and less relevant. Whether it ever completely dies is actually a lot less interesting to consider than the social and economic impact of the emerging technologies that are threatening it.
WIRED Money, Together with BBVA (http://www.wiredevent.co.uk/wired-money-2015) takes place on July 8, 2015 at The British Museum. WIRED subscribers save 10% on tickets. We also have a limited number of half-price tickets for finance sector startups.
For more information or to register, please visit www.wired.co.uk/money15.