In the dystopia novel I've been working on, everyone gets a microchip implanted at birth. It's your birth certificate. Later it's your driving licence and passport. All doors have electronic locks so the microchip is your house key. It opens doors where you work and won't open doors you don't have access to. It's your bank account. Money is electronically transferred in and out (minus tax). You have no idea what the current tax rate is, all you see is the final amount.
It has occurred to me just how easy it would be to sell that idea to the public. Imagine - you cannot lose your birth certificate, passport, keys, or any important documents because it's all stored on a chip implanted in you. You cannot be mugged because nobody has any cash. Only those permitted to enter your house can do so. You never need to show ID at the tills because the tills already know how old you are. It's so convenient that if the masses hear about it, they'll want it at once.
There is a downside, naturally. You can be fired, banned from driving or evicted at the tap of a few remote keys. Your chip then won't open the house door and it won't start the car. Your bank account can be simply erased. Tills can be set to refuse you service. Put on weight and you can't buy food. When your blood alcohol reaches a set point, you can't buy any more booze. The masses won't mind at all because this will only ever happen to 'bad people'. It won't happen to them, it will be for the binge drinkers and the obese and other criminals. If it does happen to them, then like Winston Smith's neighbour in '1984', they will assume they must have been influenced by thoughtcrime and meekly accept punishment.
There is CCTV in this story. It's still fuzzy and rubbish but now it's linked with remote chip-scanners. Hide your face, it doesn't matter. Next to your image on that screen is your chip's identifier. Try to run and no door will open for you. No bus or train will let you in. You have no money and no home. All with a few taps on a keyboard because what nobody told the sheeple when the system came in was - the chips can not only be read remotely. They can be reprogrammed remotely too.
But hey, it's just for the criminals so that's okay, right? It is, of course, fiction. For now.
The Moose suggests that the smoker's attempts to terrify the population with 'smoker's money' might help bring about the change to electronic money. That will happen anyway. Cheques are already being phased out and more and more I see people paying for small purchases with a credit card. People are getting used to living cashless. Pay with the card, pay the card online, why I'll bet there are people out there now who haven't handled cash in months.
There are plans to 'load' a mobile phone with electric money and pay for things at the till with it. Scary. Lose your phone and you'll lose your wallet too. What if it runs out of battery at the till? Oh, what you need there is an implanted chip. You can't lose that.
Is it safe? Of course, haven't your dogs and cats had these things in them for years? They're fine, aren't they? Nothing to worry about.
Nothing to worry about until the thing breaks down. How can you get it fixed? You now have no means to prove who you are and no access to any means to pay for the repair.
But hey, there's nothing to worry about. It's not as if anyone's been working on this sort of thing for years. Even if they did, it's not as if those guardians of our health, who won't let us smoke or drink or put on weight, would ever approve of something as invasive as an implanted chip.
That first link goes back to 1999, the second to 2004. What can those chips do now?
So I'll keep on labelling money. Not to rush through the chipping of everyone, because that will happen no matter what, but because money is only going to be available as a smokers' weapon for a short time.
Make the most of it.