How Would You Like to Pay?: How Technology Is Changing the Future of Money
Bill Maurer is Dean of the School of Social Sciences; Professor of Anthropology, Law and Criminology, Law and Society; and the Director of the Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Pious Property: Islamic Mortgages in the United States and Mutual Life, Limited: Islamic Banking, Alternative Currencies, Lateral Reason.
Most people around the world buy airtime for their mobile phones on an as-needed basis, instead of having a subscription to a cellular service. In some parts of the world, people started sending airtime credits to one another as a form of payment. This unanticipated use case of the mobile phone inspired the development of mobile money services. This chapter provides an account of airtime as a form of money, and considers the regulations and risks around mobile money.