ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Many people believe that the U.S. is heading towards a cashless society.

Debit and credit cards are already most commonly used when shoppers are ready to check out, but crypto currency, a relatively new idea, is now moving in. It is not like cash, as it is all digital, which enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world.

However, it is not like Venmo, where money comes out of the user’s bank. Crypto is not governed or managed by a government. It is instead run by a software program. The idea behind it is to replace the dollar bills in a person’s wallet.

One local professor said that the man who created it believes it is safer since the government can not adjust its rate or print more.

“We watch the charts like, at least three times a day,” said local crypto user Ben Otwell. “I’m popping in to see where specific coins I have, what they’re doing.”

Crypto currency is estimated to be a $1.7 trillion market. Otwell said that the way he got into crypto is through a local group called “The Boats N Crypto Club.” He said that it is not a get rich quick thing, but instead involves tedious work, which is why many people get scammed due to the wrong education on it.

“I really pay attention to that,” Otwell said. “I don’t click any links that don’t come directly from the legitimate site, you know, or something that I can verify because there are tons of scams out there.”

Crypto currency is designed to replace cash, but there are some risks.

“Take into account of the cons, problems and beware of the problems,” said Orhan Erdem, a finance professor at Rockford University. “They can invest, they can trade, but they should be very cautious, very, very cautious because there is no fraud protection.”

As more people become interested in crypto, so do scammers. The technology is new, but the scam methods are very old. The most common amount scammed is $500.

“At least, it seems not possible to have a society only with crypto currency, so it can’t replace cash as of right now at least,” Erdem said.

While Otwell believes that crypto currency has many new opportunities for people, there is still room for improvements.

“You always want to do a little due diligence on projects that you’re thinking of investing in, especially new coins because people, you can make your own coin and it’s fairly simple to do,” he said.

Some professional athletes get paid in crypto currency, and some people are actually taking out loans on their digital coins right now to buy cars and houses all through crypto currency.