Data as currencyThesis & FMP
In ancient times, all salt, peppercorns, shells and dolphin teeth were in the forms of money. Nowadays, the way of currency to pay for something has been unified and agreed widely. The issuance of currency is essentially building a common perception. Only a strong common cognition can create holiness and legitimacy, and money can be accepted by the public. For currency, this kind of common cognition is the credit and authority of one country. For digital money in games like World of Warcraft and League of Legends, this kind of common cognition is the support of players. But what for another kind of “money”?
In the digital age, the concept of currency is changing. For example, Bitcoin. It is a digital currency unit used on its payment network. The core characteristic is decentralized since the system works without a central repository or single administrator. So what is the common cognition of it? Bitcoin was first praised by geeks, because of a technical cult. Later, many anarchist liked it because it was a free decentralized culture. Later, many civilians bought because of strong opportunism.
The amount of data produced every day is unimaginable, and the value of data has caused widespread attention and discussion. Companies are thinking about how to make more money through big data, and normal people are thinking about how to benefit more from data and keep their privacy at the same time. The requirement and importance of data can be regarded as its “common recognition” – “What if web Users Could Sell Their Own Data?” asks a blogger for the New York Times. Once the monetary value of the data is determined, it can be used as a unit of exchange in the transaction.
Can our personal data be used as the currency of the future? Before we start this problem, we would better think: How to make an interesting exchange of data and currency? How to create and transform value? Speaking of this, Money no project has been mentioned.
Money no object by artist-maker and researcher Heidi Hinder explores the idea of playfully making a financial donation through physical gestures (handshake, hug, high-five, etc) using wearable technologies. She aims to find out another sort of value proposition and enrich the meaning of exchange. At the same time, “the novel process of donating will aim to re-engage audiences with the broader value of museums, build connections between people, and strengthen social cohesion within a museum’s visitor community.”This project has been practiced in Victoria and Albert Museum in the form of a plastic donations box.
Owing to existing designed payment (material objects like coins, banknotes, credit cards even mobile phones), there are decreasing physical interaction and chatting where people pay. In order to reimagine the traditional currency, the artist made a device called handshake & pay. Users can complete the movement of pay by a handshake (there is a sensor on the gloves). In her opinion, it gives more opportunities for the human to engaging touch with others, even if there is no bank on the high street anymore.The artist is seeking to focus on how it is possible to capture and articulate cultural value. As Alex Flowers’s saying, “while this statistical assessment perpetuates the same limitations that cultural organizations are seeking to overcome, I decided it was still perhaps a good place to start, or at least for an artist to begin experimenting.” It emphasizes the human interaction in the background of daily financial exchanges. Tangible things like NFC-enabled items, keys, mobile phones can, I think so as data, to complete monetary changes as a currency.