Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde: We need cash for anonymous transactions
A cashless society would be a bad thing because everything would be traceable and you wouldn't buy things that were controversial, according to Peter Sunde, founder of the Pirate Bay and micropayment service Flattr.
"If everything is traceable you start thinking about your purchasing behaviour. You need cash for anonymous behaviour," he said at the session on The Future of Money at the London Web Summit.
Ben Milne, founder of Dwolla argued that we already lived in a cashless society: "There's no anonymity in transactions. Things go digital, and anonymity is removed. You can't do anything about it. If you have a credit card there's no such thing as anonymity."
All of the panellists recognised how challenging it was to enter the European market, due to regulation. "Europe's a very complicated place. The US is a bit more free with their data," said PayPal's John Lunn. Lunn criticised the major banks and argued that we need to make the process of paying for stuff much easier. He said that by launching chip and pin, banks divested all responsibility to look after your data. "Why do you bank with them?" he asked. He went on to describe the security protocol 3D secure as "a terrible experience" that is not helping commerce.
When asked about the "mobile wallet" -- the idea that your phone could be your purse -- Lunn responded: "My wallet should not be on my mobile. It should be where I want to use it, which now is in the cloud." He was equally dismissive of NFC saying, "IT's a 10-year-old technology. It's fine. If it makes my life easier I'll use it, but I'm not that excited by it. There's got to be better ways. Why do I even need to take my phone out of my pocket?"
Milne said that the value of mobile was in predictive behaviour, so you could walk into a café and it would immediately trigger the barista to create your usual coffee. "It think that's going to be a big driver for mobile."