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A Cashless Society is Coming to the US (and a monocle is not required)

Hasbro's Monopoly goes cashless

The “Cashless Society” is stuff of FinTech lore, a utopia that can be discussed, but one that many believe is impossible to reach. Impossible that is until we witnessed historically low interest rates globally, not to mention the negative rates in Sweden that have resulted in the paper stuff evaporating before our eyes. So with Hasbro’s major announcement that their top selling classic board game would be going “cashless,” the email deluge began, and thus, I present to you the next installment of Rantings avec Ranta.

Mark, there’s big news from the world of gaming (in this case, old school board gaming). 
In living rooms across America, white, pink, orange and yellow money will be disappearing.

What does that mean for Rich Uncle Pennybags, the monocle-wearing dude? Has he retired? Gone bankrupt? Was he tired of using his Costanza wallet?
Well, I think the monocle might be replaced by Google Glass soon enough and he’s likely on his way to ditching the billfold for a mobile replacement, but we aren’t there yet. 

How soon will we see a cashless society?
It’s already becoming a reality…in Sweden. Monopoly was the big game that taught people about money and managing finances, the prestige of being the banker on game night was a big deal. As technology and preferences evolve, banking and money are going digital, and Monopoly is too. Teaching a kid about money using physical cash and coin is so 20th century!

Is this move geared to the Gez Z demographic? And as you noted above with evolution, are pesky kids of today going to learn the basic concepts of banking and cash? Or are we going to see a dystopian future, a la Road Warrior…or Cash Warrior? 
We (you, I, and our peers) needed to learn how to handle cash because we had to actually physically give it and receive it. I am guessing you still have your savings passbook somewhere to prove your $5.36 deposits after your paper route; this is not the reality for Gen Z…they’re learning the basic concepts of money, but in a modernized fashion. You don’t pay a paper boy (or paper girl) with cash and coins anymore, you read the paper on your iPad; the realities are just different. 

What about Boomers and older Gen X’ers? Will we see pushback? Some of them like their old school board games and physically handling/touching white, pink and yellow money. Are they going to be going cashless? 
They’ll have to in order to play with their grandkids, though I have to admit I made the run last night to make sure I got an old school version for my house. 

Monopoly typically brings out the worst in people, at least in the Ring household. So if we move to a digital/cashless society, will we be bringing out the best (or at least the better) in people…or will the game’s banker still piss people off?
Going cashless takes a lot of the friction out of the banking sector, which is responsible for most of the issues (and ire) with Monopoly. It removes the fraud from the game, figuratively speaking (or at least makes it harder). 

Let’s seamlessly transition to contactless. How does contactless come into play?
The game cards are contactless; Hasbro jumped right past mag stripe and EMV right to NFC. 

With this move, is Hasbro shooting a cannon across the bow of banks? Or is Hasbro a disintermediating force? 
I don’t think we have much to worry about yet from Hasbro, but we might want to add them to fintech watch list. Monopoly has taken tracking the value of your properties and rents (hotels on Marvin Gardens) as well as the cash piles and put them into a single personal financial management tool. 

Is the digital version more fun than the old school version?
Time will tell, but I do think it’ll enable adult players to enjoy more socializing and imbibing (something that the older version didn’t allow because everyone was always angry and had to keep an eye on the banker and other players’ fraud attempts); with the new version, there’s less to keep track of. Put it another way, a way in which is relevant to our industry: the old board game is akin to current banks…cash piles are separate from property portfolios and rental incomes. The new board game is what banks are striving to accomplish—the holistic omni-channel view of the customers. 

I really can’t picture Rich Uncle Pennybags partaking in Oculus Rift.