'the money changer and his wife' by Quentin Massys

Modern monies ethical dilemma.

The complexity of the modern world means there are a great many trade-offs to be made when designing mechanisms of exchange.  In the past, the functionality of money was to a large extent dictated by the limits of technology.  The physical properties of a currency informed how it could be used.  In contrast, today’s technologists can build any type of electronic monetary systems. Employing any type of functionality that adheres to any ideological foundation.

Should a payment card act as a policeman or an anarchist?  A Bitcoin imbued with reactionary ideals or an M-PESA that aims at non-bank inclusion?  Should payments be anonymous or tracked?  Opaque or transparent? Almost any functionality can be created to the extent that, the limits to monetary development are not technological. The limits are bound within the social realm and are tangled within ethical philosophical questions that arise through living.

Throughout history, society has struggled with these questions and the extent to which they can become design principles.  We are no different now, except that the pace of change is accelerating beyond the capacity of society to respond.  So, perhaps, we might turn to artists & designers rather than citizens, governments or banks to show us what money could become.

This years FOM award challenges creative thinkers and tinkerers to design an alternative electronic monetary system, which adheres to an ethical philosophy.

If ‘John Stuart Mills’ were to design an electronic monetary system, what would it look like?  How would a pragmatist ‘William James’ inspired monetary systems operate?  Or a ‘ Russell Brand’ socialist egalitarian money ecosystem?

We are not looking for patentable technologies, but hopeful (or woeful) visions of an alternative digital payment system which might inform which monetary systems we use, and what future systems might exist.


The competition will run in two phases.

FIRST PHASE – Initial Idea

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

Deadline for submission 9th February 2015

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 exhibited at Nestas ‘FutureFest,’ which takes place on the 14 – 15th March 2015.




The awards will be presented during the annual Tomorrrow’s Transactions forum, on the on 18-19 March 2015, organised by Consult Hyperion.


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 and be exhibited at Nestas ‘FutureFest’ 2015.

Shortlisted projects

£500 each for project development.


1st prize – £750

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