Re: I'm somewhat confused.
Cash has the property that it doesn't leave an audit trail.
If you buy stuff from, say, Tesco and pay with cash (notes/coins) they record the transaction for financial purposes, they record the items for stock control, but they cannot record who paid for it (unless you also present your Club Card).
If you buy stuff from, say, Tesco and pay with debit card, credit card, cheque, or similar, they record who paid for it even if you don't present your Club Card.
Cash is essentially anonymous. Yes, it's possible to record serial numbers of notes and perhaps get some sort of trail, but it's a lot of work so used only in cases of serious crime (supposedly).
Apple Pay, Paypal, etc. do not give anonymity. There may be some steps taken to (try to) ensure security, but not anonymity: there's a trail showing that debit card X paid Y pounds for product Z from supplier W. They're not cash, just another way of conducting a debit/credit card transaction. Even if you use a debit card to put beer tokens into your Paypal account then weeks later use those beer tokens to buy something on Fleabay, there's a trail that wouldn't happen with cash.
Note that cryptocurrencies are not perfectly anonymous, just as cash isn't. With enough monitoring in place you may be able to figure things out. But cryptocurrencies are a lot closer to being "cash" than Paypal is.