"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 Fioney'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

2 Qatar Airways Privilege Club Credit Cards

Cardless Launches Two Qatar Airways Co-Branded Credit Cards

The FinTech startup Cardless is partnering with Qatar Airways to offer two new co-branded cards to the American market. About the cards: Recently, Cardless introduced its two latest rewards credit cards: The Qatar Airways Privilege Club Signature Card and the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Infinite Card. Starting with the Signature card, it earns 4x Avios on Qatar Airways purchases plus 2x Avios on dining purchases, and 1x Avios on all...
Yendo logo and credit card

Vehicle-Secured Credit Card Company Yendo Raises $165 Million

A FinTech that offers the first-ever credit card secured by a customer's vehicle has announced its latest round of funding. About the round: This week, Yendo announced that it had raised $165 million. However, this includes $150 million in debt financing and $15 million in equity. The debt portion was led by i80 group, while the strategic investors that participated in the equity round were not disclosed. Yendo previously raised...
woman holding her hands to her temple thinking

Lessons From a First-Time Home Buyer: Worst Time to Buy a House? There Are Always Exceptions

If you've been thinking about buying a house, looking at the news lately has likely disheartened you. As CNN reports, a recent Gallup poll found that 76% of Americans believe it's a bad time to buy — with only 21% saying it's a good time. There are several reasons for that sentiment, with the top two being the combination of high interest rates and high home prices. So, are you...
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

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories: Amazon.com, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...
Rent Day

Bilt Announces Home Collection Deal for May 2024 Rent Day

For May's Rent Day, Bilt is offering a deal that will allow members to decrease their rent bill while also adding to their home decor. About the Home Collection offer: Bilt has crafted a unique Rent Day offer for May 2024. Through the 1st, when Bilt members redeem their points toward rent payments, they'll receive the same number of points to be used toward Bilt Home Collection items. To take...