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The COP 26 climate change summit that opened in Glasgow on Sunday has been billed as “the last chance to save the planet”. The sense of urgency is palpable, the pressure on politicians to agree to something meaningful is considerable. But even if, against the odds, the conference is a huge success and governments commit to serious action, the hard work of convincing ordinary people that many aspects of our lives, many things we take for granted, are going to have to change has barely begun.
Among the many changes the pandemic has wrought on society, one very clear one is a hastening of the demise of cash. Notes and coin are used far less than 2 years ago, and the trend to a cashless society will only continue, with a range of electronic and technology-based payment methods jostling for space in consumers’ wallets. What does this plethora of payment options imply, and does it pose any threat to central banks and their role in the payment system?