I was reading through the National Bank of Ukraine's press releases and came across their response on "Preventing the spread of coronavirus infection COVID-19 during cash transactions" dated Mar, 18 2020, link here. https://bank.gov.ua/en/news/all/pro-profilaktiku-poshirennya-koronavirusnoyi-infektsiyi-covid-19-pid-chas-operatsiy-iz-gotivkoyu On a side note, the NBU actually has a decent website with English translations and good info on all banknotes and coins produced by the Banknote Printing and Minting Works in Kyiv, along with their monetary policies (they revamped the website early last year). Anyway, reading through the press release one finds the typical precautions as to be expected when in a biological crisis and in regards to physical money. Reduce contact, minimize receipt of funds, non-cash payments, etc.The NBU is also requesting that old notes be returned for disposal, all the while assuring the public that the cash reserves are sufficient to meet the countries needs. This release is probably to some extent standard "boilerplate" that is similar to releases and precautions being taken by banks around the world.
This press release has me wondering how much the coronavirus did or will speed up the elimination of cash and coin, is this pandemic another log on the pyre of physical money? In Ukraine's case they just recently shuffled their coin and banknote denominations around. Starting on Oct, 1 2019 1, 2 and 5 kopeck coins, (the penny equivalent) were were withdrawn from circulation and are no longer accepted, (the 25 kopeck is also being eliminated, just not immediately) all transactions are now rounded to the amounts nearest multiple of 10. Next was eliminating the 5 and 10 hryvnia banknotes and replacing them with coins of the same denomination. The latest adjustment was the addition of a 1,000 UAH banknote, which is double the previous highest available denomination banknote. These moves along with additional adjustments decreased the available denominations in Ukraine from 17 to 12 (6 coins and 6 banknotes currently). All this was to lower the cost of manufacturing and streamline transactions, two more logs for the pyre. Lower denomination banknotes have already gone the way of the Dodo in Ukraine is the rest of the "dirty" money next?
Ukraine's newest denomination, put into circulation on Oct, 25 2019.