Bitcoin’s wild gyrations in 2021 have made sure of one thing: The future of money will be electronic, but it won’t remotely resemble a cyberpunk utopia. People’s power will bow to sovereigns’ might.

The mania and panic that have gripped decentralized cryptocurrencies are heightening the attraction of their coming rivals: digital cash, issued by central banks.

These tokens will be staid, centralized and state-controlled. That’s exactly what users will want in an "Internet of Things" world where machines need to settle claims with one another all the time, instantaneously, but without contributing to global warming.