Very thoughtful summary. I mostly agree with everything you've said.
One note on gift cards: in some European countries, gift cards can become "e-money" and must then be regulated as such if (I'm quoting from memory) their purpose and utility becomes "too universal", i.e. you can doo too many things with them. I've heard (I might be completely wrong, didn't verify) that Amazon gift cards are regulated as e-money in Sweden because of this: you can buy too much different stuff with it and people started using it for a money substitute.
Insane if you ask me.
Anyway, awesome post. Have a zap.
Indeed, a friend of mine living in Germany who uses cash to buy amazon gift cards very often, told me that recently his account was blocked and amazon requested KYC with an ID/Passport, after they identified him with this procedure he was able to use gift cards again.
I didn't know the term "e-money." Thanks for bringing it up. I think I have some googling ahead of me.