Benoît Cœuré and Jacqueline Loh Next week, finance ministers and central bankers from the group of G20 countries will discuss bitcoin and other blockchain-based digital tokens. Such cryptocurrencies are poor imitations of money.

Almost nobody prices goods in bitcoin, few use them for payments, and, as a store of value, they are no better than gambling in a casino. Policymakers are rightly worried about consumer and investor abuses, as well as illicit use.

Yet, while bitcoin and its cousins are something of a mirage, they might be an early sign of change, just as Palm Pilots paved the way for today’s smartphones. Cash will not be king forever, even though it still rules in many parts of the world.

New research from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) shows non-cash payments have roughly doubled in size, as a share of GDP, since the turn of the century. Some Nordic countries are already cutting back on cash.

And the iGeneration is more likely to reach for a payment app than a purse. To their children, bank notes and coins may look like museum exhibits. Read more from…

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