Possible economic consequences of digital cash


  • Tatsuo Tanaka




digital cash, electronic cash, ecash, electronic payment systems, transnationality, cash on the Internet, Internet economy, digital bureaucracy, virtual commerce, article


Digital cash brings benefits as well as problems. One major advantage of digital cash is its increased efficiency opening new opportunities, especially for small businesses. On the other hand, it will encourage potentially the worsening of problems over taxation and money laundering. In turn, these problems may alter foreign exchange rates, disturb money supplies, and encourage an overall financial crisis.

The transnationality of digital cash — the ability of digital cash to flow freely across national borders — encourages these benefits and problems, and could have significant repercussions internationally.

From an economic view, this transnationality is the most important characteristic of digital cash. If digital cash behaved like traditional currencies, circulating within a national border and controlled by a central monetary authority, there would be few economic implications that would be worth analyzing. In this scenario, digital cash would be nothing more than a convenient transaction method such as a credit card.

However, digital cash’s very transnationality has the potential to cause conflict between cyberspace and nation states. If digital cash spreads successfully in the next century, its history may be written as a transcript of economic battles between nation states.

Author Biography

Tatsuo Tanaka

Tatsuo Tanaka Center for Global Communications, International University of Japan, 6-15-21, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 160, Japan; telephone: +81-3-5411-6677, fax: +81-5412-7111, e-mail: tatsuo@glocom.ac.jp

Current address: Center on Japanese Economy and Business, 521 Uris Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY, 10027 USA; telephone: +1-212-854-3976, fax: +1-212-678-6958, e-mail: tatsuo@glocom.ac.jp




How to Cite

Tanaka, T. (1996). Possible economic consequences of digital cash. First Monday, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v1i2.474