I have just returned from the Texas Numismatic Association Convention in Arlington, which is just outside of Dallas. The event was held this past weekend.
With the friendly and hearty welcomes I received from so many attendees, it was a very enjoyable experience.
The reason I went was to give a talk that I called “Coin Collecting in the Year 2040.”
The convention sponsors told me after I finished that it was the best attended convention educational presentation that they had ever had.
I am pleased that they had invited me and that I did not let them down.
The very first speech I ever gave back in the 1980s was attended by fewer than half a dozen people. That let the air out of my balloon before I even opened my mouth. This definitely was not a problem at TNA.
I would like to thank Frank Galindo for extending the original invitation to me, Kim Groves for handling the details and TNA President Debbie Williams the rest of her 25 person leadership team that was sworn in on Saturday for making it all possible.
I have come back to Iola, Wis., energized and enthused about organized numismatics.
By coincidence, while on my journey I happened to talk to a banker.
Her institution is a small one.
The issue of online security happened to come up.
Online banking is a wonderfully convenient thing, but there are issues with it.
The topic of the future of cash came up in my talk on Saturday. I stated that in the period I was covering to 2040, cash would still exist.
I said the cent might even still be around in 2040 because of the huge opposition to its abolition, and if this denomination cannot be abolished, it is not likely that the rest of the coin and paper money denominations will disappear.
The banker made me see online security issues also will impact the future of cash.
Keeping the bank’s computers secure is not cheap.
She said her institution’s problems stem not so much from their computers as from those of their average depositors.
She told me the story of one customer who used a laptop computer without any virus protection on it whatsoever.
A hacker was able to monitor his keystrokes to obtain all of the necessary information to set up automatic bill pay from his accounts.
Naturally, the bills paid had absolutely nothing to do with the account holder.
Losses totaled about $10,000, which were covered by insurance that the bank has.
The banker told me these expenses are difficult for any but the very largest of banks to absorb.
The computers and software are costly. Updates are costly. Insurance is costly.
And just the hassle of correcting a problem absorbs employee and customer time.
The most secure bank computers in the world can be brought to nothing by customers who are so careless as to put all of their identification and account information in an unsecure email sent to the bank, which I was told also happens all too frequently.
While we are awaiting the arrival of the perfectly secure Internet, I expect many Americans will continue to opt for the use of cash to buy their morning coffee and paper checks to pay their monthly light bills. And collectors will still be collecting the new coins created by the Mint for use in circulation.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."