3.5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

They say that money makes the world go round. It doesn’t, but it is the fuel and blood of the modern world. Unless you are off-grid and living in a self-sufficient way, almost everything that you need or want will involve a financial transaction of some form or other. Cash was once king, but since the pandemic, that has become less popular with the rise of contactless payments becoming the norm in almost all places now.

Payments to and from people and companies banks and governments are some staggering amount each and every day. It is constant and unremitting and we are utterly reliant of them and most importantly them never ever breaking down. If that were ever to happen for even a short time there would be a fairly large economic breakdown and for even a short period of time, there would be a partial or total breakdown in law and order.

But this system is beginning to change. Banks are slowly starting to lose control as the tech wizards see a money-making opportunity in the new disruptive technologies that they are starting to launch. Some of these are new ways of paying using the current way that money moves, but some are reimagining the actual form that money will take.

But how does it actually all work? And should I care anyway?

Leibbrandt and De Terán are very well versed in the hidden systems that keep our democracies alive and functioning. In this book they will take us through all manner of payment systems, from the origins of cash, how the first credit cards were made from cardboard and the detail was written out by hand for each transaction (can you imagine that now) and what the dawn of cryptocurrencies mean for us. Where there is money there are often criminals and they talk about the rise of fraud and the methods used to combat it as well as a chapter on the attempt by North Korea to steal $1billion dollars.

I thought this was an informative and accessible guide to the modern financial world. It had the right balance between the narrative story and details without getting too technical or full of incomprehensible jargon. Worth a read if the world of money feels too baffling.

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