First Cashless Society - In Somaliland?

Tiny Somaliland, an unrecognized country in the Horn of Africa, has 3.5 million people, 53,000 square miles and runaway hyperinflation. Take a look at this picture of some money changers with their bricks of cash.


(Somaliland money changers with bricks of cash)

For every dollar there are almost 17,000 Somaliland Shillings and the highest-denomination note is 500 Shillings, which is by no means the most common note in circulation. Money-changers sit within self-built stacks of money (picture left, video below) and children take wheelbarrows of it from one place to another...

A significant diaspora send American dollars home by using Dahabshiil, an African version of Western Union that is extraordinarily efficient... Selesom, the major mobile carrier has launched a service where cash is completely bypassed...

The diaspora will continue to wire money home but the recipients will no longer need to go to a bank or visit the money-changers.

They will only need their mobile for all transactions...

SF fans have seen cashless society idea before. The earliest exact reference I know about from sf (or anywhere else) comes from the prescient 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot by Frederik Pohl. In the novel, the joymaker (a combination PDA, cellphone and information network browser that is still way ahead conceptually of Apple's iPhone) can be used to make purchases:

To use your joymaker as a credit card: You must know the institutional designation and account spectrum ...
(Read more about Pohl's cellphone credit card)

Learn about more ways to pay with your cellphone. Via Techcrunch.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/5/2010)

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