Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2015 Contents B26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 6, 2015
Consistent with the provisions of the Telecommunications Act, Ch 47: 31 of
the Laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Telecommunications
Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (the Authority) is inviting comments on
the following document:
Interested persons are asked to submit comments on this document on or
before Friday August 28th, 2015 in accordance with the Authority's Public
Consultation Comment Submission form.
The Draft Consultative Document and the Comment Submission Form are
available on the Authority's Website:
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For further information
Printed copies of the draft document
can be obtained at the following
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"National Numbering Plan: Central Office (CO) Codes
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(Revision of published document version 1.0)"
Last week, in the first part of this story about the
death of cash, we explored how the emergence of
credit and debit cards, along with virtual currencies
like Bitcoin affect the usage of physical cash. In
today s conclusion, a look at how in some countries,
transactions via mobile phones and other advances
can hasten the so-called death of cash.
While most conversations about the future of tech-
nology might myopically focus on America and
Europe, some of the greatest innovations in money
aren t coming from either place. In some developing
countries, cash transactions are quickly being replaced
by digital payments, powered by mobile phones.
While in the US, you still might buy your coffee
with cash in 2025, that might not be the case in Kenya.
In 2007, Kenyans began to adopt a system called M-
Pesa and today it is used by over 17 million Kenyans,
over two-thirds of the adult population. Users top-
up their accounts and transfer money by sending a
text message; the recipient then takes their phone to
a vendor to get their money. No banks are involved.
"Kenya has done mobile payments better than any-
one," says Benjamin Mazzotta, a researcher at Tufts
University who studies cash use. "M-Pesa is now
accepted not just for large transfers, but for meals
and clothes and school tuition. You can do lots of
things with M-Pesa today that five or ten years ago
would have sounded like Neverland."
Still, in places like the US and Europe, a system
like M-Pesa might have a harder time catching on.
Much of the technology s success is due to the fact
that it s run by Safaricon, the country s largest mobile-
network operator by far. In other countries, competition
is stronger: if each operator chooses to introduce their
own proprietary form of mobile payment, it might
not be anywhere near as convenient and seamless.
Take the Apple Pay system for example. Apple has
faced hurdle after hurdle in getting the system adopted
both in the United States and elsewhere. They ve
struggled to cut deals with places like China, where
one company controls transactions between banks.
And it s worth remembering that M-Pesa is a system
for moving cash around, not a system to eliminate
it. Users still hand cash to the M-Pesa vendors to
top-up their accounts, and retrieve cash from them
when money is sent to them.
So, while tech evangelists might like to believe they
can replace global use of cash with digital transactions
or Bitcoin, the truth is a bit more complicated and
the hurdles aren t all fixable by technology alone. Our
psychological attachment to money, the infrastructure
available to banks, and the need to create systems
that are compatible with lots of vendors and users,
all make progress away from cash more of a slog than
When you ask those who actually make currency
whether they lose sleep over the looming cashless
future, they say they re not worried. "Frankly, based
on the continued growth rate of cash, we don t antic-
ipate the disappearance of cash in the possible near
term, or even medium term," says Eric Ziegler at
Crane Currency, a money design and manufacturing
company. He doesn t think Crane even has a cashless
contingency plan, nor that they need one.
Of course, saying that cash isn t going away isn t
the same as saying cash is going to look the same
forever. Banks and printers are constantly engaged
in the fight against counterfeiters---a fight that goes
all the way back to the 4th Century BC. And our
future money will probably be a lot more digital than
it is now.
Manufacturers like Crane are developing futuristic
The death of cash
as we know it?
bills that involve large, easy to recognise security
features. According to Ziegler, the best security
features are the most obvious ones. "You want it to
be technologically advanced, but so easy and obvious
that if it s missing the average cashier isn t going to
miss it," he says.
Continues on Page B29
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