Money at 30: "Cloudmoney" Audiobook Review "Cloudmoney" by Brett Scott Audiobook Review
Cloud Money by Brett Scott

Money at 30: “Cloudmoney” Audiobook Review

For years, I’ve been writing about the FinTech sector and reviewing applications that fall under that banner. In turn, I’ve become a fairly large fan. Thus, when I was looking for new books to check out and came across one that seemed critical of the advent of these financial technology firms, I was definitely intrigued. The book in question is Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto, and the War for Our Wallets by author Brett Scott, which I managed to consume in just a few short listening sessions — remaining engrossed throughout.

Cloudmoney by Brett Scott

First, specific to the audiobook version of this title, I should note that the book is not narrated by Scott but by Coleman Pedigo. Personally, I thought Pedigo did a great job with the material — though I am always curious to hear how the author themselves would present it. In any case, while I’ve nitpicked some audiobook elements before, I found this one to be just about perfect.

Moving onto the actual content of the book, I appreciated how Scott didn’t just harp on the perceived issues he has with the “cashless future” but, instead, pointed out a number of contradictions that such a setup presents. On that note, Scott proves to be a master of metaphors (or similes in some cases) as he regularly makes comparisons to help illustrate his point. One particularly humorous observation that stood out to me involved the phrase “cash or card?” As he argues, this is like asking “will you be traveling by bicycle or car key?” since the card itself isn’t making the payment but, instead, initiating a series of other actions.

Of the many contradictions Scott calls out, one of my favorite sections was when he looks at the relationship between FinTechs and banks. As he rightfully notes, startups often position themselves as disruptors — rebels who are ready to overtake the banking status quo. All the while, many of these firms are partnering with banks as well as major payment networks, making them more beneficial to these larger entities than their ad copy would lead you to believe. Speaking of wording, I was also taken with Scott’s assertions that oft-used phrases such as “unbanked” suggest that those without banking accounts are in need of one… even though this may not be true. Trust that the author has no shortage of examples to show why such language has become the norm and why big players from Visa and Mastercard to Amazon and Facebook are happy to embrace the anti-cash sentiment.

Jumping from there, another aspect I found fascinating was the vilification of cash that Scott documents. Even without explicit mention of issues such as civil asset forfeiture (which often results in court cases with names such as “United States v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency“), he mentions how physical currency is now seen as suspect. Meanwhile, the pandemic has also reframed cash, albeit in a different way.

Of course, you can’t talk about FinTech and digital money without discussing cryptocurrency. Luckily, this is one area that Scott is more than qualified to speak on. In fact, his explanations of concepts were stellar. Specifically, I now feel that I actually know some of the key differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum — and, even more interestingly, what led to forked currencies such as Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic.

So did Cloudmoney end up converting me to a cash enthusiast, ready to fight back against the FinTech revolution? Not exactly — although I am definitely more skeptical of (or at least less excited for) a cashless future than I was before. Incidentally, I get the feeling he’d be perfectly happy with that outcome as he doesn’t seem to suggest that these digital options shouldn’t exist, but just that consumers should still have the option of using cash without demonization. I also think that Scott makes some excellent points about privacy along with other downsides of an all-digital system, which I will admit did give me some pause. Overall, I found Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto, and the War for Our Wallets to be a riveting read/listen that’s also approachable even if you’re not well-versed in crypto, FinTech, or DeFi. So, no matter where you currently stand on these matters, I think it’s worth checking out.


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Money@30's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

2023 Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Tops 2019 Highs

The latest small business credit card study from J.D. Power shows satisfaction continuing to rise. About the study and results: This week, J.D Power released its 2023 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Study, which includes responses from more than 3,400 small business credit card customers. In this case, the study looked at businesses with annual revenues between $10,000 and $10 million. First, it was discovered that overall satisfaction among...

Discover Announces 5% Bonus Categories for First Quarter of 2024

With 2024 sneaking up on us, Discover has announced its rotating 5% bonus categories for the first quarter of next year. About the Q1 2024 bonus categories: From January through March 2024, Discover It customers will be able to earn up to 5% back in two categories: restaurants and drugstores. According to the company, the Restaurants category includes full-service establishments, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and dining delivery services. For the...

Public App Adds Corporate and Treasury Bonds Feature

The FinTech trading app Public has announced new investment options for its members. About the features: Public is now rolling out the ability for customers to invest fractionally in corporate and Treasury bonds. This capability will be introduced on both the mobile and desktop interfaces for the service. According to Public, the addition comes as demand for fixed-income products increases. In addition to these bond types, the app will also...
The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

FedEx Announces Winners of 11th Annual 2023 Small Business Grant Contest

Nearly three months after the entry period ended, FedEx has announced the winners of its 11th annual Small Business Grant Content. This year's event saw more than $300,000 in funds going to a variety of small businesses across the nation. Last month, the company revealed 100 finalists, with that list now being narrowed down to just 10 winners. This year's grand prize winners included KindVR, The Cupcake Collection, Up In...
Summer app

Student Loan Benefit FinTech Summer Raises $6 Million

For years, student debt has been one of the most talked about financial topics. What's more, while the debt itself has become a major part of many Americans' lives, discussion of student loans has become political due to efforts to forgive certain loan repayments. However, while we wait for resolution on that front, a FinTech that brings student debt benefit solutions to employers and consumers has raised a new round...
H-E-B and Central Market  credit cards

Imprint Launches Credit Cards from H-E-B and Central Market 

The FinTech Imprint is partnering with the popular Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B for a pair of new rewards credit cards. This week saw the launch of the H-E-B Visa Signature Credit Card as well as the Central Market Visa Signature Credit Card. With these two (nearly identical) options, customers will be able to earn rewards on groceries and beyond. First, both versions of the card earn up to 5% back on select...
Melissa Urban holding a Ness card

Health and Wellness Rewards Card Ness Partners with Whole30

In recent years, several unique rewards cards have come to market. These include offerings from FinTech startups as well as brands looking to do something special for their loyal fans. On that note, a recently-announced rewards credit card offering is now working with a popular brand to introduce new benefits for customers. This week, the Ness Card (which is issued by The Bank of Missouri) unveiled a new partnership with...
Choice Privileges Select Card

Choice Hotels, Wells Fargo Debut Choice Privileges Select Card

With spring well underway and the summer travel season now just around the corner, Choice Hotels and Wells Fargo have unveiled their latest co-branded credit card offering. Today, the two companies announced the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard. Carrying an annual fee of $95, this card will serve as the premium option in the hotel brand's new lineup. Looking at the Choice Privileges Select, it offers a mix of rewards categories....