The digital future is becoming the present. Nearly one-third of executives expect their home countries to go cashless between 2026 and 2028, according to a new survey from Protiviti, a global consulting firm, conducted in collaboration with the University of Oxford. The research reveals that decision-makers are expecting the demise of paper money rather sooner than later.
Timeline predictions vary, but an overwhelming 85% of global business leaders anticipate their countries of residence will abandon cash within a decade. Almost one-third of respondents envision this transition will occur by 2028. A much smaller percentage of executives expect it will come to pass between 2033 and 2040. Even fewer think it's possible before 2025, with the post-2040 skeptics closing the ranking.
"Every business should be thinking about the future of money and the implications for their operations," Cory Gunderson, Protiviti executive vice president, said in a press release. "While it's easy to take for granted, the transition to a cashless society and the ongoing transformation of the global monetary system could cause significant disruptions for business operations worldwide. Leaders need to be thinking of ways to get ahead of the curve and prepare for the unknowns so that they can best serve their customers and clients. Now is the time to start planning for these shifts," he added.
Even though executives appear willing and able to embrace digital currencies, 88% expect increased business risks related to the imminent changes in the monetary system in the next ten years. Most execs rank those risks as moderate, with the biggest confidence coming from the US and Asia-Pacific being the least optimistic.
The survey also highlights a number of challenges related to the transition to the cashless economy. Executives point to infrastructure limitations as the top hurdle, followed by privacy and security fears, government regulations, customer adoption, financial crime and fraud protection, and transaction fees. The lack of trust in digital currencies, along with financial inclusion and income inequality issues, are also concerns.
Surprisingly (or not), cashless trends shouldn't stoke high hopes of widespread crypto adoption. Protiviti's report clearly asserts that state-regulated money is here to remain and dominate the financial space. It's also the preference of global business leaders, the majority of whom favor central bank-issued currencies and expect governments to regulate digital assets sooner or later.
Nevertheless, 88 % of the respondents believe that digital currencies, regardless of their type, will have a significant impact on their business operations in the next ten years.