NordSTEVA workshop: Exploring the Cashless Society – University of Copenhagen

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08 February 2018

NordSTEVA workshop: Exploring the Cashless Society


 February 2018

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Kristoffer Liden & Nina Boy from the Digital Matters group have organised the workshop "Exploring the Cashless Society - Money, security, technology, value(s)"

Scandinavia leads the global trend of the digitization of money: Norway only operates 6% of transactions in cash, Sweden is said to be on track to become the first cashless society in the world and the Danish government has proposed to make the country entirely cashless by 2030. Beyond digital payment applications the cashless economy also includes the invention of virtual crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and virtual contracts, including financial instruments, smart property and smart contracts, as well as broader applications of the block chain technology to governmental functions.
The digitization of money not only affects the form and technology of how money moves but the very nature of global finance and by implication the future organisation of society. Digital technology affects the frameworks for the production, storage and circulation of money, with implications for money’s conventional functions as means of exchange, unit of account and store of value. In ‘script money’ based on protocol, the difference between money and information has become thinner (Floridi 2014), affecting the definition of basic economic categories.

Money as code opens both new possibilities of controlling money and controlling through money. In central banking digital money has been suggested as a solution to the impasse of the so-called ‘zero lower bound’, the fact that in the attempt to contain the financial crisis by cutting interest rates monetary policy has reached its limit. In a fully cashless society savings could be mandatorily charged via a negative interest rate to not merely encourage but enforce investment and spending, raising an entirely new spectrum of monetary control.

The cashless society is also argued to increase public safety by eliminating the scope for crime such as fraud, burglary and money laundering but on the other hand enhances the scope for cybercrime. It grounds security, privacy and minimal trust independently from centralized institutions in verification protocols, encryption and biometric technologies. Given money’s historic role of transporting and corroborating authority this raises profound questions about how the cashless society will remodel modern forms of authority and legitimacy, the public sphere and the commons.
This exploratory workshop seeks to examine the NordSTEVA focus on the nexus of society-value(s)-technology in light of a crucial reconfiguration of money and security. To begin to grasp the full implications of this reconfiguration is a thoroughly interdisciplinary enterprise, requiring a coming together of data science, security technology, surveillance studies, digital economy, political economy and political philosophy/ law and ethics. We invite scholars to present on the following themes and aim to compose panels that will enable a joint exploration of societal security in the cashless society:

o Data-driven security practices, algorithmic governance and surveillance technologies
o Financial crime, financial surveillance, monetary control
o Digital currency/ economy, block chain technology, encryption
o Public sphere, new commons and political authority/ agency in the digital age

For registration and proposals, please contact Nina Boy, PRIO: by 30 September. The workshop is organised in association with the SOURCE Societal Security Network.