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Think of Acoin as a USB flash drive for money. It stores cash electronically and displays the amount stored. Acoin anonymizes electronical payments, by existing as an offline node in our online interconnected world.

  • Acoin Presentation board

  • Acoin with different currencies

  • Acoin prototype

  • Acoin model iterations

  • Acoin early research

What it does

Think of Acoin as a USB flash drive for money. It stores cash electronically and displays the amount stored. Acoin anonymizes electronical payments, by existing as an offline node in our online interconnected world.

Your inspiration

Our spending habits create an outline of who we are. You might think targeted advertising is all there is to this story, but your data gets traded with whoever is willing to pay. Acoin is designed for a future where governments have gotten rid of cash. Not if, but when this happens: how much freedom will we have left? This project came about after living in Singapore, and feeling observed all the time. Even when there is nothing illegal about your actions, the awareness of being watched leads to a forced obedience and conformity. This suppresses behavior: creativity and critical thinking are muted and democracy is thrown out the window.

How it works

Acoin works together with your phone. From your e-banking app, you can transfer money to the device. This money is now offline. When making a payment, there are three possibilities: 1. By holding Acoins together you can send the value on your Acoin, or a pre-set amount, to another Acoin. Confirmation of sending money occurs through the fingerprint reader. 2. You can erase your fingerprint, and swap Acoins. In this scenario, one Acoin contains money, and the other does not. The only transaction is the data stored on the device, as the exchange of hardware is mutual, and therefore zero. 3. When making large payments, you can give Acoin away, together with the data it contains. Because of this unpredictability, no one can tell where your money came from, and through whose hands it passed. The money on Acoin becomes untraceable, and paying with it anonymous. For storing money, Acoin relies on cryptocurrency keys.

Design process

The point of Acoin is not to serve criminality. As a friend of mine put it: "if my parents would see that I paid for cocktails at a gay bar they would disown me". Maintaining your financial anonymity means maintaining the possibility to speak, act, and think freely. It is only as soon as we lose that right to privacy that we will notice how much changed. This project started as a research into the dark and untold stories of IOT technologies. It all seems very innocent: headphones that track what we listen to, cars that know where we go, and the targeted ads on our social media. But we should not forget our data is valuable, and that it is OUR data. Some say your only secret is your PIN number. But how often do you use your bank cards to pay, your phone to transfer money or do you tap for public transport? All our behavior is bound to financial transactions in some way or another, and all this data goes into a cloud. This makes our lives increasingly traceable, and I realized it is only the existence of cash that ensures some freedom. But ePayments are the future. Acoin is designed for in your hand and pockets, for a future without wallets. It is wireless for convenience, small for portability, black for obscurity, stong for security and offline for anonymity.

How it is different

For storing money, Acoin relies on cryptocurrency keys. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are a decentralized form of currency, free from all government controlled banking systems. The integrity of the system is maintained by the community of users. Every connected phone or computer becomes a node in a network that verifies the validity of transactions. This ensures the safety and stability of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are relatively new forms of currency. Acoin relies on them for their anonymity and ability to store money electronically on storage that is physically on the device instead of in a cloud. So when you lose your Acoin, your money is gone. Just like cash. This also means that as the money is offline it can be passed around freely. Acoin is new. There is no existing electronic hardware that has this functionality yet.

Future plans

Acoin is a speculative design concept, designed for a cashless future. The next step will be to make a working prototype. When the dangers of losing financial anonymity become apparent, sales will follow.


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