The changing nature of money
How do you pay for things in a shop? Perhaps you like the tangible reliability of hard cash? Maybe the financial flexibility of a credit card suits you better? Or perhaps you prefer the simple convenience of a smartphone?
Whatever you use today, experts believe all these methods could soon become outdated. Instead, we will use our bodies: our eyes, our fingerprints, even our mere presence in the store. In fact it's happening already. Amazon are trialling stores which have no checkouts, where technology tracks the items you've taken from the shelves and deducts the total from your account when you leave the shop.
French supermarket Monoprix takes a different path: you choose your groceries and leave them with a human cashier. You then leave the shop while the cashier tallies up your bill, charges your account, and organises delivery to your home.
Amir Sajed, chief executive of Barclaycard, told the BBC that such new developments spell the end of the plastic credit card. Instead, wearable items such as rings, bracelets and keychains will carry chips that allow shoppers to "seamlessly shop, going between the web, an app or in store," he says.
And while all the above payment methods are underpinned by accounts held in traditional currencies, let's not forget the rise of alternatives such as Litecoin. Such virtual currencies can rise in value very quickly, but are also susceptible to crashes and threats from hackers. Who knows, perhaps something totally new will take off that changes money as we know it? One such possibility is explored in the movie In Time. It imagines a futuristic society in which the currency is time itself, where people trade the amount of time they have left to live.
Or perhaps we'd do better to wind back the clock to the simpler financial world of the barter economy. While the term conjures images of sacks of grain and herds of sheep being exchanged in ancient times, there are signs that bartering is making a comeback in today's world of modern technology. Startup Let's Barter India has developed an app which facilitates the exchange of goods, and already has around 100,000 members.
或许，我们最好还是回到物物交换经济这个更为简单的金融世界。虽然这个词让人联想到古代交换粮袋和羊群的情景，但有迹象表明，在现代科技的世界里，物物交换正在卷土重来。印度初创公司Let's Barter India开发了一款应用程序，可以方便地进行商品交换，目前已有大约10万名会员。
Maybe the only thing we know for certain is that money will keep evolving.
to tally up
to take off
to wind back the clock / to wind the clock back
to make a comeback