(Written By Charlie Warzel) It’s the dead of winter in Stockholm and I’m sitting in a very small room inside the very inaptly named Calm Body Modification clinic. A few feet away sits the syringe that will, soon enough, plunge into the fat between my thumb and forefinger and deposit a glass-encased microchip roughly the size of an engorged grain of rice. “You freaking out a little?” asks Calm’s proprietor, a heavily tattooed man named Chai, as he runs an alcohol-soaked cotton swab across my hand. “It’s all right. You’re getting a microchip implanted inside your body. It’d be weird if you weren’t freaking out a little bit.” Of Course It Fucking Hurts!, his T-shirt admonishes in bold type.
My choice to get microchipped was not ceremonial. It was neither a transhumanist statement nor the fulfillment of a childhood dream born of afternoons reading science fiction. I was here in Stockholm, a city that’s supposedly left cash behind, to see out the extreme conclusion of a monthlong experiment to live without cash, physical credit cards, and, eventually, later in the month, state-backed currency altogether, in a bid to see for myself what the future of money. READ MORE