'Prometheus Forms Man and Animates Him with Fire from Heaven' by Hendrik Goltzius

The Origins of Money.

Origin stories help give our existence narrative, they imbue a sense of meaning on objects which otherwise might appear meaningless, and this is particularly the case for money.  Money within all its forms is often a useless object outside a given social and cultural context.   For instance: pieces of paper, plated bits of metal, ethereal binary code and even gold (more useful in high end audio contacts or dental fillings).

Although origin stories alone are not enough to bring about a new type of money, they do however help maintain myth and belief surrounding a currency and perhaps also influence our understanding of money.   For example, Adam Smith the father of economics, suggested that money originated from barter due to the ‘coincidence of wants.’  Anthropologist David Graeber argued the origins of money is linked to debt.  Others suggest that money originated from rituals associated with religion.  More recently, origin stories have focused on Bitcoin’s mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

Whatever the true origin of money is, all monetary origin stories, true or false, inform our understanding of currency.  

The Future of Money Award challenges Designers and Artists to create a new origin story surrounding a monetary artefact or theory.  We are looking for monetary origin stories that challenge the way we think about the nature of money.  Therefore all current or past monetary artefacts can be used as a starting point. For example, gold and silver, coins, paper notes, credit cards, binary code, NFC (Near Field Communication), Chip and Pin, Bitcoin, big stone blocks and everything in between.



The competition will run in two phases.

FIRST PHASE – Initial Idea

Please submit an overview of your initial concept. Preferred format = PDF. Maximum 3 pages communicating the concept and examples of previous work (website or PDF). 

Deadline for submission 1st March 2016

Send entries to art@chyp.com


SECOND PHASE – Project Development

Shortlisted entrants will receive £500 each to develop their idea and produce a short video. The videos and concepts will be presented at Consult Hyperion’s ‘Tomorrows Transactions forum,’ which takes place on the 20th – 21st April 2016.



The top three entrants will have the opportunity to present their concepts at the Tomorrows Transaction forum to an audience of financial experts and industry leaders.

Shortlisted projects

£500 each for project development.


1st prize – £750

Winners and shortlisted entries will also be uploaded to the Future of Money archive.