• The Future of Money

  • How the Digital Revolution Is Transforming Currencies and Finance
  • By: Eswar S. Prasad
  • Narrated by: Stephen R. Thorne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Eswar Prasad explains the world of finance is at the threshold of major disruption that will affect corporations, bankers, states, and indeed all of us. The transformation of money will fundamentally rewrite how ordinary people live.

Above all, Prasad foresees the end of physical cash. The driving force won't be phones or credit cards but rather central banks, spurred by the emergence of cryptocurrencies to develop their own, more stable digital currencies. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies themselves will evolve unpredictably as global corporations like Facebook and Amazon join the game. The changes will be accompanied by snowballing innovations that are reshaping finance and have already begun to revolutionize how we invest, trade, insure, and manage risk.

Prasad shows how these and other changes will redefine the very concept of money, unbundling its traditional functions as a unit of account, medium of exchange, and store of value. The promise lies in greater efficiency and flexibility, increased sensitivity to the needs of diverse consumers, and improved market access for the unbanked. The risk is instability, lack of accountability, and erosion of privacy. A lucid, visionary work, The Future of Money shows how to maximize the best and guard against the worst of what is to come.

©2021 The President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about The Future of Money

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From an earlier time

This was a bit of a comical read to start in March 2022 but by May its almost obscene. The world of cryptocurrency, from Bitcoin to “algo-stables” (this book’s preoccupation), is a tragic farce, and it’s lies are quickly being exposed. A book for the dustbin.

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Solid information but definitely biased

This is primarily a book on Central Bank Digital Currencies. The author does a fair job of explaining the landscape of finance and crypto currency/bitcoin and presents arguments backed by solid reasoning and evidence. Insofar as explaining the challenges of adopting a CBDC and the related risks/benefits this book does a good job. I wish it was more doom-and-gloom about CBDC but that's just my bias - the author does actually give reasonable criticisms and nods to even catastrophic challenges to CBDC. Always good to hear what the other side has to say.

For anybody in tune with the space there is distinctive bias, however. For example, in discussions around stable coins he continuously talks about Diem as a promising stable coin and yet Diem is like...dead? They sold all assets to another company. A fair counterpoint would be that the crypto space moves so quickly that a book is bound to make mistakes, but even at time of publication the top two stable coins by market cap were USDT (which is mentioned) and USDC which may or may not be mentioned (can't remember). I don't think DAI ever gets a mention. But Diem? It gets serious page and word presence.

A lot happened since publication and I would have liked to see how these things influenced the author's arguments. El Salvador adoption of BTC as legal tender happened after publication, as did China actually banning bitcoin mining and the hash rate migration. There is absolutely no mention of Lightning and other layer 2 projects as solutions to existing challenges in Bitcoin.

So, bias is there, but insofar as CBDCs are concerned I don't know of a better resource to pick up.

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Great survey, thoughtful and accessible

Concepts are explained and given background, so this works for any level of expertise. The breadth of this survey is impressive. It is global and includes plenty of recent history as well as outlooks and prospects for various forms of money and their online surrogates. The author gives a pretty balanced and well-reasoned overview, though many in today's go-go speculation culture would derisively call the views here mainstream-based. What they are, is smartly and thoughtfully put together. There is a reason that various enduring aspects of finance (such as US dollar hegemony, and various payment systems in place) ARE enduring, and any serious observer should have this background.

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Great Content

A very thorough and clear explanation of a complex issue. I found the narrator rather dull. but after speeding up the speech function, it was fine.

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  • Richard Georgiou
  • 06-16-22

I'm pretty boring but this, this is something else

I made a big mistake by listening to this book after a particularly exciting set of books about Genghis Khan. The step down in excitement/interest was too much for my little brain which, after one final belch, switched off and went to sleep. If I were to recommend the reading material that would take the reader from an exciting book to this book it would be something like the following.

Genghis: Lords of the Bow >> War and Peace (Unabridged Edition) >> The Road >> The Yellow Pages >> The Telephone Directory (Tunbridge Wells edition) >> Staring at the narrow ruled lines of a blank exercise book >> The Future of Money.

Best of luck
Richard Georgiou

P.S. I've given this four stars because I'm bright enough to understand that I'm just not bright enough to understand.

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  • Solange D.
  • 02-03-22

Brilliant content

Brilliant content and a great reference book. Audio voice narrating is not the most compelling

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  • Gino Cenedese
  • 10-30-21

Great content, terribile narrator

Really good content, but the narrator is terrible and sounds like a robot. You can't really listen to almost 20 hours of book with a narration like that.

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  • Caleb Ludeki
  • 01-19-22

19 hour book that was 18 hours too long

It seems like the author felt that weight was important or there was no editor to say "mate you gotta cut this back". It felt like a low grade student's paper that cut and paste everything from wikipedia that might have a passing reliance. If you already have a reasonable knowledge of finance and cryptocurrencies this book will tell you very little and do so very slowly.
Voice actor did his best.