02 September 2014

AndyB

Andy Brown - Alaric Systems

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Predicting the future of money

02 April 2014  |  777 views  |  0

Last month saw the 2014 Future of Money Design Award, alongside Tomorrow’s Transactions, the 16th annual Consult Hyperion Forum in London.

The Future of Money Award was launched in 2009 and was created to bring previously unseen creative thinking to the financial industry, by asking artists and designers to think ‘out of the box’ when imagining the future of money and payments – pushing the boundaries of what might be possible.

The theme of the award this year was ‘Identity is the new money”, and it invited… “creative practitioners to imagine a future world where identity has become the new money… looking for either hopeful or woeful visions of this monetary future, which explore the social impact of this technological trend.” 

There were some very creative ideas, looking at how someone’s identity can interact with the way they pay.

The second place prize went to Jonathon Keats who proposed Selfie Money; an innovative idea where money is printed with the user’s image when it is withdrawn from an ATM, and until it goes back into the bank, that photo will remain on the note. The artist described it as…

“The only way to successfully compete against the discreet convenience of electronic transactions – let alone the anonymity of cryptocurrencies – is by appealing to flagrant narcissism.

“National governments must replace old-fashioned portraits of historical figures with pictures of the people who actually use their banknotes. The new face of paper money must be the selfie.

“Given the strong connection between celebrity and wealth in modern society, selfie money should have little trouble gaining popular acceptance. Moreover, the system should have a beneficial effect on national economies, preventing recession, since the opportunity for people to have their portraits in others’ wallets will motivate spending. Narcissism will be the new wealth of nations.”

An innovative idea, and certainly I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something like this in the future!

The winning entry, which took the concept of identity as the new money even further was called Sunnyside from Renee Verhoeven & David Carr. This took a fresh look at the concept of ‘value’, and one individual’s perceived worth to society on in certain situations. They say…

“Value is currently expressed in money, but does this really reflect what we most value in our society? The most expensive things in the world can be meaningless to some. We imagined a place in which we question if the current monetary system has influenced the way people behave for the worst. Could there be a system where people are eager to improve their identity instead of being money-driven? Like money, your identity is a very complex concept. However, with growing possibilities of wearable technologies and growing capacity of analysing (big) data, there might be ways of giving identities a marketable value. That potentially leads to a complete decentralised value system that links social backing with power and value.”

This concept of the individual being the ‘currency’ and their value being dependent on how others perceive you is an interesting take on ‘big data’. I especially liked the thought of context specific value – depending on where they are and what they are doing.

I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like this in reality – and as you can imagine it certainly caused some discussion in the room about the flaws in the plan - but it is a very interesting take on identity and how much something, or someone, is worth.

The Future of Money Award takes a fresh look at an industry that isn’t always renowned for its creativity, although it’s fair to say that the last few years have definitely seen some very exciting innovation in our space. It’s an event that I was delighted to judge, and I look forward to seeing if any of these ideas make waves in the payments space.

 

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Andy Brown

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Product Marketing Manager

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Alaric Systems

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