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Is the 'Mark of the Beast' the future of money?
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Some futuristic thinkers say that in the next 20 years or so, when people go to the market, they will pick up the items they need and leave - without the benefit of paying a cashier. Sensors will identify a consumer by a mark, their way of walking or facial recognition. Will cash money - paper and coins, become extinct, for a system that calls forth the "Mark of the Beast" as spoken in the Book of Revelations?
Theoretically, a unique identifier is attached to your digital wallet, could transmits payment for the groceries directly to the store.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Theoretically, a unique identifier is attached to your digital wallet, could transmits payment for the groceries directly to the store. Your virtual wallet has a dozen digital currencies in it, all with different values based on a variety of factors, including loyalty programs.
At some grocery stores, you might pay with their version of frequent-flier miles, while at others, you might pay with the equivalent of a virtual credit card.
While this sounds fanciful, technologists and thinkers say that this is in fact the most conservative and likely of all future scenarios. "What was it like to see that old-fashioned building called a bank?" may be a question posed by our grand-children and great grandchildren.
The emergence of Bitcoin and the ecosystem growing around it is just one of the any symptoms of this New World Order.
And even if you believe Bitcoin is no more than a fad - and that may well be, given its volatility, security issues and potential regulatory challenges - it has raised the prospect of new virtual currencies and, at the least, cheaper and more efficient transaction mechanisms.
"Money is a very interesting philosophical idea in that we have all of humanity agreeing on this system," Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, inventor and author says. "So even though we may radically disagree on some things - like let's say the U.S. government and Al Qaeda - they both respect money. So it's remarkable how we have this universal respect for this very esoteric virtual construct."
Other technocrats such as Marc Andreessen, who led the team that invented the first commercial web browser, say they believe that new virtual currencies will come to dominate the way we pay for things in the future.
"Bitcoin offers a sweeping vista of opportunity to reimagine how the financial system can and should work in the Internet era, and a catalyst to reshape that system," he wrote recently.
Kurzweil, however, says that change may not be rapid as that. "We've built up respect for currencies associated with nations," he said. "People respect dollars, mostly, I think, because of the track record, relative stability."
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