In association with Independent Currencies

THE BITCOIN BANKNOTE PROJECT

Where Cash Meets Crypto

The Bitcoin Banknote Project aims to highlight the role security printing can play in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. As a security documents specialist, Independent Currencies is uniquely positioned to create printed products with blockchain functionality.

Secure document production – the production of paper money – elevates, protects and builds trust in the foundations of our financial system – why not decentralized forms of money?

To date, Independent Currencies is the first and only entity to produce a prototype paper wallet to secure document specifications. This site aims to document the development of cash-like documents.

PRESS RELEASE

SEPTEMBER 2020

WHAT SECURITY PRINTING
CAN DO FOR BLOCKCHAIN

Physical cash is key touchpoint in the brand of money. Even in cash-less societies, paper money is an essential component of the brand of Central Banks. It is certainly the most relatable part of central banking; the design of circulating banknotes is a major factor in the public’s trust of the financial system.

Not only are banknotes designed and printed to the highest artistic specification possible, their success depends on them being difficult to counterfeit. This makes security printing the most technically advanced print product design in the world.

For blockchain, security printing would seem to be redundant. When most central banks – at the time of writing – are launching direct-to-public digital money systems, what place does cash have? Bitcoin’s original innovation is the elimination of the double-spend problem, secured by cryptography, therefore making it impossible counterfeit. Marketplaces for the tokenization (and so the digital financialization) of any good or service have built upon the innovation of cryptocurrency. With this in mind, the future of cash seems tenuous.

What could cash production possibly offer cryptocurrency?

PROTECTING PHYSICAL GOODS

Although the paradigm shift in our culture is moving from physical to digital, we still live and move in a physical world, where goods are prone to counterfeiting.S

In this case, security printing can come to blockchain’s rescue: a hardware wallet is an essential way of securing the private keys to a cryptocurrency address. Hardware wallets are manufactured, sold online, and sent to the buyer. However, these are physical goods that are no less prone to counterfeiting. Secure printing and design of hardware wallet packaging can be verified as genuine – no different to visually verifying a banknote.

Security Printing has a clear use case in protecting essential cryptocurrency hardware and other physical goods.

THE CREATION OF TRUST

Criticisms of cryptocurrency include: its obtuse nature, its connection to facilitating illegal activities, its volatility, and its tendency to be hacked in prolific heists and scams – all despite the high security of the blockchain. These criticisms add up to one thing: a lack of widespread trust.

Trust is created from dependability, stability and consistency. Cryptocurrency’s brand is still lagging in these areas. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less attractive: cryptocurrency has an individualist, anti-authoritarian and speculative appeal – these are undeniable aspects of the crypto brand. But the result is the absence of trust, and the frequency of lost trust with the popping of each speculative bubble.

If Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are to move beyond a mere trading asset, and become investment assets, they must create a brand that can be trusted.

Cash is the physical production of trust. The fiat financial system is built on confidence, and the visual and product branding for that confidence is the production of banknotes. The quality and artistry of banknote design and production can infuse the cryptocurrency brand with a sense of trust, elevating it from a trade, to an investment.

PRIVACY, AUTHORITY & AUTONOMY

The privacy of cryptocurrencies is a misconception; the ledger is open, and all transactions are visible. The blockchain phenomenon poses interesting questions about the balance between personal liberty and personal safety.

One thing is sure: the world’s most used and most private form of money today is cash. Banknotes need no on-boarding, no KYC process, and there are no obsticals in their use.

In contrast, cryptocurrency requires a setup, and an often lengthy and tiresome sign-up process. And in every case, one’s identity is tethered to one’s transaction history. This is not what was intended, for a form of currency that was borne out of the desire to decentralise the authority of money-issuance.

The issues of privacy, authority and individual autonomy converge at the prospect of the Central Bank Digital Currency. For many, this represents an appropriation of blockchain technology in order to lockdown the financial freedoms of the individual. Under such monetary regimes, a central bank is all-seeing and all-knowing, and has the power to ‘switch off’ anyone at will. This clearly flies in the face of a growing global sentiment for greater personal freedom and liberation.

There is a coming clash of ideologies, posed by purely digital economies. Keeping cash, and cash-like products circulating may be the pressure release valve that prevents full technological tyranny. The simple fact is that cash is the most Human, private, and autonomous form of transacting used around the world, with or without cryptocurrency. Without it, people are left with choice between the informal barter of prehistory, or total financial submission.

SUMMARY: ELEVATING A BLANK BRAND

Cash has clear advantages, in its practicality, in its ideals, and the quality of its brand-making. These advantages are all to cryptocurrency’s benefit.

Printed products blended with a blockchain functionality have existed since the beginning of Bitcoin; the paper wallet is simply a printed copy of an address with private and public keys. These wallets have grown in their complexity, but all fall short of true security printing. If anything, attempts to make paper wallets ‘banknote-like’ only reinforce the early haphazard user interface of cryptocurrency.

The brands of Bitcoin and Ethereum are now rich, and distinct. Many other cryptocurrencies are more of a blank slate. There is much potential to elevate the crypto space with high art, and physical products of the highest specification.

Bitcoin-banknote.com is a satelite site of Independent Currencies, the secure design and print studio with a crypto-centric mandate. Bitcoin-banknote showcases Independent Currencies’s innovations and partnerships, demonstrating the important role of security printing in the blockchain space. Independent Currencies is partnered with print providers, as well as developing its in-house print and design capabilities, and is uniquely positioned to work with decentralized currencies.

INSIGHT

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020

SOLUTIONS:
AUTHENTIC BANKNOTE DESIGN

INDEPENDENT CURRENCIES 2019 PROTOTYPE ‘CRYPTOCARD’

PRIVACY

The privacy of cryptocurrency is a myth – all transactions are visible. Cash, on the other hand, is truly private. Cryptocurrency in a cash-like form is actual sovereign money with a digital scarcity.

SECURITY

Without banknote printing standards, a paper wallet is easily counterfeited. The highly specialized techniques of banknote design and production are refined to create secure paper.

FAMILIARITY

Cash is familiar and easy to obtain. In contrast, the on-boarding process for cryptocurrency is usually invasive and difficult. Cash-like cryptocurrency fills the gap.

BRAND

Each currency is its own brand. The design of banknotes are powerful visual touch-points for that brand. New currencies need standout design that reflects their revolutionary potential.

HUMANITY

Bitcoin’s humanitarian basis is obvious – sovereign money is a profound first step in self-determination. Cash compliments sovereignty as a private, face-to-face transaction.

CRAFT

Outside of art, paper money is perhaps the world’s most personal yet highly crafted product.

SHOP

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020

CURRENT PRODUCTS

COMPLETED PAPER WALLET SOLUTIONS

TEN DIGIX GOLD NOTE

Currency: Digix Gold Token

Type: Transaction Certificate

Features: Raised intaglio, gold foil, UV fibres

Year: 2020

Print Run: 50

EIGHT MILLIBITCOIN, LAS PARABOLAS SERIES

Currency: Bitcoin

Type: User-Defined Private Key Wallet

Features: Raised intaglio

Year: 2020

Print Run: 50

CANADIAN DOLLAR STABLECOIN NOTE

Currency: QCAD Stablecoin

Type: Burn Address Wallet

Features: Raised intaglio

Year: 2020

Print Run: 50

FIVE MILLIBITCOIN ANONYMOUS NOTE

Currency: Bitcoin

Type: Burn Address Wallet

Features: Raised intaglio, Latent Image, See Through

Year: 2020

Print Run: 50

PERSONEL

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020

CONTACT

TOM BADLEY – CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF INDEPENDENT CURRENCIES

Tom has experience as security document designer in the banknote industry. As well as an artist and designer, Tom has also worked in the antique and historical documents side of banknotes, and understands the collectible banknote landscape. He is creative director of Independent Currencies, an innovative security document design studio that offers in-house intaglio and litho printing.

Independent Currencies is engaged in cash-like solutions and crypto-cash hybrids for the blockchain space.

Tom graduated from the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art, London, and also attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York.

Connect with Tom on Linkedin here, or read more about Independent Currencies here.

“Money Is The Mirror Of Humanity”

– Tom Badley

In association with