Local officials in Memphis, Tennessee are trying to track down a man who picked up an envelope full of cash that fell to the ground after a bank transaction. The incident highlights a key convenience of digital transactions such as Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, which are conducted on blockchains and do not require the movement of any physical bills or coins.
According to a report by WREG-TV, the theft happened at Southern Federal Credit Union, where a customer made a withdrawal of $4,000 and placed the envelope full of cash partially in her purse. It promptly fell out at the exit door before she left the bank. Another customer who was entering the bank at that time picked up the envelope.
A surveillance photo shows the man with the woman’s cash. He then exited with the envelope without making a transaction or notifying anyone at the bank.
While cashless transactions are on the rise in countries like Sweden where cash is quickly vanishing, 70% of Americans report using cash on a weekly basis. Research conducted by payments giant Square and the Harvard Business Review shows an eventual shift towards cashless payments in the US will be driven by business incentives that incorporate and support multiple types of digital transactions.
Writes Shelle Santana, an assistant professor of business administration in the marketing unit at Harvard Business School,
“I predict that the tipping point will come as younger, tech-savvy generations integrate their own digital payment habits into their own businesses in the future. This, coupled with concerted efforts to build bridges across the banking and digital divides, will enable a big shift toward cashless.”
Meanwhile, lost cash is part of the cost of doing business with traditional currencies.
US Secretary of State Steven Mnuchin recently speculated that most of the $1.5 trillion in missing hundred dollar bills are located at banks. Experts have countered his argument, suggesting that the missing bills are hidden in other locations.
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