End of the Smart Card (originally published 2002)

It was inevitable, even from a luddites perspective. Recent history has been guiding us with rapid transitions from mainframe to PC, desktop to notebook, and landline to wireless technology, and we have been taunted with shorter and shorter product life cycles. Breaking news today becomes obsolete technology tomorrow. Yet with all these indicators fore warning of rapid change towards integrated, wireless solutions, we still load up each day with an extraordinary variety of bulky communication and IT equipment, and a wallet of plastic cards. This is about to change, as a result of recent developments in Singapore and the UK.
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From ECU to Toke (Originally published 1999)

The formation of Europe’s Monetary Union, coupled with continuing advances in secure global connectivity, is pathing the way towards a common global electronic unit of currency. ¬†Before the new millennium, the first nation outside of the original eleven European Union nations that adopted the European Currency Unit (ECU) at the beginning of the year will switch from the dollar to the ECU. ¬†That nation is Cuba, and its reason for switching is economically sound. ¬†Cuba is dependent on trade with Europe, and dealing in a common currency with its trading partners will reduce punishing currency exchange commissions. ¬†Cuba has indicated they may draw in other communist countries specifically China, Vietnam, and North Korea, and doubtless will promote the idea throughout Central and South America. Whether the ECU eventually challenges the mighty dollar for world supremacy is irrelevant. ¬†What is important is that the advantages of monetary union – the desire to rationalise currencies to support trade – reach far beyond the ‘Eurozone’. ¬†On the other side of the world New Zealand and Australia are considering their own monetary union. Further rationalising of world currencies will inevitably follow, leading eventually to a common monetary unit. ¬†Improvements to SET (Secure Electronic Transactions), including news of a 256bit version of DES (Data Encryption Standard) continue to strengthen the integrity of encrypted transmissions, making secure global connectivity a reality. ¬†We are steadily moving towards a common electronic monetary unit.
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