We approached the MintChip Challenge by thinking about how it would integrate not only through technology, but culturally. We see the adoption of digital transactions to be as much about the social connection to the change, as the development of the technical engineering.
Meaning, the sum would need to be greater than its digital parts, and we needed to find a real-world way to evolve the cash-to-digital currency exchange.
Our discovery phase looked at both the cultural and technical restrictions of storing data inside a mobile device. Two social obstacles were immediately apparent:
- Mobile devices are not universally accessible. Also, a mobile phone is in constant motion. Paired with human nature, this results in countless devices being lost, dropped, stolen or forgotten. As well, in Canada, mobile devices can be costly to replace. Couple that with the device carrying your cash, and the phone can present a considerable financial liability.
Instead, we looked at putting the MintChip into a tangible, everyday object that was more secure - a peripheral device that would still be in range to communicate with the phone.
- Next, we needed to answer an age-old challenge: battery life. We looked to low-powered solutions so the user would never find themselves stuck somewhere with a dead phone and, therefore, no cash. We considered products such as e-paper and screen-less devices, which support a longer battery life.
As a result, we decided to propose the roll out of a line of wearable, low-powered devices, which provide the user with myriad customizable options that simultaneously offer enhanced security than the phone by itself.
To engineer a technical solution for revolutionizing the traditional transaction, we have developed two new concepts in mobile transactions, presented in a minimal, easy-to-use interface:
The gesture-controlled payment keyboard allows the user to transfer money from chip to chip (so a digital cash transaction) through a few easy and convenient gestures.
We have developed an enhanced visual passwording system that uses glyphs stored on your chip to execute the payment confirmation. Essentially, the password itself is encrypted so the user has a unique device generated password. This technical innovation offers the user an extra level of security and verification, while simplifying the process with a quick and unique gesture.
For us, the peer-to-peer transfer market seemed to offer the most opportunity. It had the potential to really optimize the use of the MintChip. Moreover, we wanted to introduce a product that offered a simplified digital solution to a process, with the same or less steps than the traditional transaction.
Currency has been evolving for centuries. It’s time for the next phase. Introducing the new way to carry cash.