How a Cashless Society will Enhance the Transition to Sustainable Energy

In the future, companies will be able to inhibit bonuses or company cars through blockchain technology. This has the potential to significantly influence the transition to sustainable energy, but it also makes it inevitable to question the ethics of traceable money. How much should the state be able to interfere with our private lives and spendings?

Futurist Liselotte Lyngsø predicts that our society will become highly precision-oriented in the future. Here, budget conversations and conversations about money will have a whole other focus, namely on how we can achieve the highest quality of life through our digital money.

Have you ever wondered how it affects our consumption that we no longer have to sign, enter a code or count physical money before we put things in the shopping cart? What does it mean for the insight into our finances that we pay with fingerprints, facial recognition, and other various forms of digital types of payment?

Futurist Liselotte Lyngsø states the uplifting message that the young gamer generation is full of geniuses when it comes to technology. They’ll have no trouble figuring out how to navigate in a cashless society and they are already used to handling digital money in the gaming world.

An expiration date on money?

Making future forms of payment methods digital comes with so many benefits. One is that it’ll become more difficult for organized crime to exist. Additionally, it has the potential to shut down the black economy completely. In Russia, it’s expected that it will earn the state 35% more in tax income if they start to monitor cash flows in real-time.

If we use new technologies such as blockchain, we will be able to nudge people to make more sustainable and green choices. Right now, 87 countries are working out how to implement more digital and smart money into their societies.

In Sweden, they talk about earmarking the money that parents get during their paternity and maternity leave, so that it won’t be spent on cigarettes and alcohol but only on sustainable baby stuff and healthy choices. The same goes for companies. They’ll nudge their employees to make more sustainable choices by offering them electric cars through the company.

Liselotte Lyngsø has no doubt that the transition to sustainable energy will only speed up if we use technology and nudging. She even considers the possibility to put an expiration date on money. Then we can make sure that it’s included in societal consumption so that if it isn’t used, it’ll be transferred back into the company or go to the state.

Kiss your cash goodbye – in a year, you won’t even notice that they’re gone

During the pandemic, restaurants and shops already started to phase out physical money. In the future, different types of biometrical payment methods will take over.

We already use fingerprints and facial recognition, and at CBS in Copenhagen, Nets is working on a pilot project where You pay with your Dancard via blood vessel scanning in Your finger. These technologies will be highly effective, especially for people who don’t have a bank account.

“Laziness is the way forward. If you can just smile at the camera, this is the way to go. Then you quickly forget that you once had to stick your card into a machine and enter a code.”

-Liselotte Lyngsø.

A possible downside to all these new technologies is that everything might become too easy. Suddenly, the waiting time that once made us reconsider large economical decisions such as loans, is canceled. How should we manage that challenge?


In order for us to put digital payment into use, various apps are developed constantly. The Airwallet from Odense is just one out of many examples. The company makes digital payment solutions for laundries, so you avoid the constant hassle of exchanging the right amount of coins.

In other countries, you typically use the same app for the vast majority of things. An example of this is the Chinese app “Alipay”. In Denmark, we have so many different apps that Liselotte Lyngsø believes that the Danes have developed “app-ati”. We can’t stand being introduced to any more apps. We’re tired of fumbling around frantically on our phones in order to find the right app or the right customer club in a payment situation. Luckily, we’ll be able to avoid this in the near future.

Over the next five years, a Siri-like chatbot will listen in and automatically understand our needs and select the right app or loyalty card for the specific location and situation. We won’t have to type anything at all.

Digital assistance will work well in regard to payment, but chatbots who listen and decide what to propose also have a lot of power. Nevertheless, we like to use new, digital payment methods because they are fast and convenient. Just like the fact that we are generous with our personal data if it can affect our health in a positive direction.

Heightened competition

A large amount of data available means that in the future, it will become easier to spot how we ensure a good economy. Banks will be supplemented with new players who are experts at making us understand our economy. Can you imagine the possibility of your personal bank hiring an influencer for you to relate to and lean on in regard to understanding your financial situation? Or getting AI to simulate what you can achieve by acting in a certain way?

Liselotte Lyngsø estimates that the banks that are most open to new ways of putting the economy into play are also the ones that will do best in the competition. It’s about translating data into advice on healthy finances.

“Suddenly, all these new dimensions come into our knowledge. You can fast-forward your finances, and you can follow developments both in what you want to buy, but also in what it will mean for your well-being.”

Liselotte Lyngsø.

In New Zealand, they make well-being budgets where they measure what people get out of their money.

For example, if a person wants to pay 500,000 kroner for a new knee, the well-being account with data from other people’s lives can tell them that it is not at all what will make them happy. It might tell them to go to the gym three times a week, spend more time with their wife, and get a dog that they can walk with instead. This gives us completely different and much wiser budget conversations than we are used to. Conversations that are based on analyzes of enormous amounts of data, which have been greatly increased during the pandemic, where we needed data to be able to prevent the spread of infection.

In the future, we can also be greeted by our digital twin avatars in the bank. A twin who can help us spend our money right!

Maybe you want to work from home four days a week? Then your digital twin can tell you that you have to go into the office at least three days a week because you need to be socially stimulated.

Money will become digital, smart and multidimensional and much better at explaining value. The banks must utilize their knowledge so that they can make us wiser on how we make good investments in relation to being human. Both in the short and long term, because we as humans cannot see that for ourselves, says Liselotte Lyngsø.

China is way ahead

In China, the digital currency, yuan, is well underway. It’s the central bank’s digital payment solution. It has no transaction fee and in the long run, it will also work offline. However, it is traceable.

China wants to become the world’s leading state in terms of using artificial intelligence, algorithms, and data collection at the personal level. For example, they’ve measured that some people do not get enough sleep because they’re up gaming or binging movies all night. Therefore, they’ve experimented with shutting down the power between 10 pm and 05 am in certain residential areas. After that, the employees came to work happy and profitable. After that, they decided that Chinese children can only play online for one hour a day, three days a week. It’s obvious that China makes some pretty wild investment decisions on behalf of the citizens. But in return, they provide super advanced technologies which benefit the Chinese tremendously.

The Age of precision is on its way

Smart, digital, and traceable money, of course, raises a number of ethical questions about surveillance and privacy. How much should the state interfere in how we spend our money? In response, Liselotte Lyngsø sees the growing investment interest from private individuals as a good thing. She explains how important it is that ordinary Danes start to have an attitude towards their investments. They shouldn’t just let random pension companies handle them.

In the future, we will have more and more to say about the money field. This will make the market more difficult to see through. We used to almost know exactly which algorithm the banks were operating through. In the future, we will have more but smaller players in the field who are not necessarily logical-thinking but who are able to be emotional in their actions.

All in all, we are entering a new era. After the agricultural society, the industrial society, and the information society, we are on our way to the precision society, where data becomes the decisive focal point.

The age of precision will be about making wiser choices. It’s silly that a car stays parked 90% of the time and fills up expensive areas. It is also foolish to put so much fertilizer in the fields that it sinks into the groundwater. Why invest in something short-term?

Liselotte Lyngsø predicts that we will become much smarter about how to invest. We will think back on 2021 and wonder: “how could we be that naive, believing that we could figure it all out ourselves?!”

Listen to Liselotte Lyngsø talk further about the precision age in this podcast.

Or read or listen to the whole article from Erhverv+ in Danish.


Do you want to learn how to spot trends and translate the future into strategy, ideas and development for you and your organization?

Sign up for Future Navigators online or physical trendspotting masterclass!