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"Officially sanctioned" could take the form of a government-issued digital coin, like bitcoin for example, but that's going to take "many years," El-Erian said. "It's not something that we're going to see in the next three to five years … because people's habits and people trusting in the new medium and change doesn't happen overnight."

But make no mistake, "we are moving away from cash," said El-Erian, former CEO of Allianz-owned Pimco. "Go to Sweden and you'll see how fast one can move away from cash."

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