Do you know where all your cash is? Or have you stuffed some in your furniture and forgotten all about it? Sounds fanciful, but it isn’t, as Howard Kirby found out recently when he bought a second-hand ottoman and thought the cushion was harder than it should be. He unzipped it and found over USD40,000 inside. We know this because he was honest and returned the cash to the owner.

In 2013, a Connecticut rabbi bought a desk for USD$150. When he couldn’t get it through his door he took it apart, which was serendipitous for the previous owner because he found USD$98,000 in there. Being another honest chap, he took it back whence it came. That’s just two cases… imagine how much other money is nestled in the soft furnishings of the world. And don’t get us started on Pablo’s millions. They’ve made a whole TV series about that.

It’s not just absentmindedness that can lose your cash. Pickpocket. Sleight of hand. Theft. Burglary. Handbag grab. Armed robbery. There are multiple ways people can relieve you of your hard earned. According to Quartz, consumers in the US lose USD$500 million a year in theft, and businesses a whacking USD$40 billion.

The problem with physical cash is that when it’s gone; it’s gone. It’s not like it has your name on it. (That would be somewhat impractical really as it changes hands so often.)

And then there’s the money you do have that’s perfectly safe, but that you just don’t value enough to bother with. Coins now are somewhat redundant for many people; more of an inconvenience than an object of value. Even as far back as 2007 (wow, that sentence makes us feel old) a survey by Chevrolet calculated that in the UK 6.5 billion pennies had somehow disappeared. That’s £65 million (and 22,000 tons) of completely disposable hard cash. In one country alone.

Cash as a physical entity is also a pain in the arse to deal with. Think of all the times you had to nip to the ATM, wasting a few of your precious minutes on this planet. That’s before we consider the fact that ATMs often charge you money for the privilege of getting cash that you own. Or there’s time spent depositing cash in the bank.

Bigger businesses spend many thousands just moving the physical stuff around. That’s a lot of moving targets for criminals.

As well as speeding transaction times, digital payments reduce crime rates dramatically. Unlike cash, the sender and receiver can both be tracked by both parties to a transaction. Secure gateways make digital transactions hard to tamper with. Payments can be made online or over the phone.

Society more generally benefits too. No cash in the cash register equals no robbery. No cash in the vault equals no violent break-ins. And digital money does not need to be driven around by middle-aged security guards in vans which may as well be branded ‘bountiful loot’. (And, let’s be honest, who needs another Hollywood heist movie?) Put simply, hard cash is a soft target.

We’re not going to pretend that digital money isn’t without pitfalls. The last financial crisis illustrated that putting your money in a bank is risky if the financial system fails. Banks also close for weekends, preventing urgent transactions by businesses and individuals. And, with such high overheads, transactions fees are high.

Cryptocurrencies offer solutions to many of these problems. Blockchain systems used for crypto transactions are far more sophisticated than a signature or pin number, enabling the owner to retain complete control of their assets.

When payments are ‘pushed’, crypto allows you to safeguard your personal details (unlike credit card transactions). Funds are received faster and fees are lower.

And cryptocurrency-based peer-to-peer settlement systems are available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

We could go on, but the message remains: If you think cash is answer to your money security concerns, perhaps try asking a different question.