Did you notice the payments scanner in the taxis we took in Quito? Here's a bit more information on the system.
I was completely gobsmacked to be in a country which doesn't have its own currency that it controls. I know the euro is something like that but to live in a country which has willingly given up control of its currency means such a giant loss of sovereignty that I'm amazed. One of the reasons why I hate the euro. I as a citizen have no power over the currency is such a crazy situation. And then the irony that a leftist government (remember how all the guides were fulminating against the president?) having no control over its currency and being driven by the arch priest of right wingers, the USA. And the final indignity, the central bank building is now converted into a sodding numismatic museum. Tragic son tragic.
Remind me to tell you about blockchains sometime.
Ecuador Is The World'sic First Country With A Public Digital Cash System
The runaway success of mobile money products like M-Pesa, which first took off in Kenya, has inspired dozens of copycats around the world. Many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America now have services allowing people to store and transfer money using their cellphones. But there's something different about Ecuador's new Sistema de Dinero Electrónico. It's being operated not by a private phone carrier or financial company, but Ecuador's left-leaning government.
M-Pesa-like products have been hailed for bringing millions of people into the formal financial system, enabling commerce between people in different locations, and cutting theft and tax avoidance. But Diego Martinez, an economist in Ecuador's central bank, says the government wanted its own service, because it thinks it can reduce the transaction costs that come with private offerings.