CASH COULD BE PHASED OUT WITHIN A DECADE

CASH COULD BE PHASED OUT WITHIN A DECADE

THE rise of electronic currency will lead to the phasing out of physical cash in Australia within a decade, according to Australian National University (ANU).

Professor Rabee Tourky, director of ANU Research School of Economics, says the emergence of electronic cash is one of the major economic issues facing society.

"In 10 years' time there won't be any paper cash," Tourky says.

"The big question is what's going to replace it in Australia? Will it be Bitcoin? I don't think so.

"More likely it will be 'AusBit', an Australian government issued digital cash."

The move could herald a new era of digital money such as crypto-currency, which brings its own set of unique characteristics and challenges.

"It's quite clear that the central bank in Australia is going to have to issue electronic cash," Tourky says.

"It's also going to have some issues that cash as we know it doesn't have, such as privacy, anonymity and then perhaps the emergence of anonymous markets.

"These are going to be big open questions in economics. It's going to become a major issue for people studying money and banking."

To keep ahead of a changing economic environment, the ANU College of Business and Economics has this semester begun incorporating digital cash into the first-year Money and Banking unit.

"This is an established course which we've changed to include studying the theory behind digital cash," Tourky says.

"ANU economics students typically go into leadership roles, either in government or in the banking sector. In four or five years' time they are going to be faced with these issues."

"We want to give our students a rounded education in economics, our program is where economics is shaped in Australia. Students coming out of our program should have a familiarity with the major economic issues."

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