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Narcissism may be the only way to keep physical currencies alive.

With the rise of convenient electronic transactions and cryptocurrencies that offer unprecedented anonymity, the declining popularity of physical currencies is a real occurrence. Artist Jonathon Keats has proposed that the only way to save dollars, pounds, and other national currencies is to emblazon them with selfies of the hardworking citizens that use that very same money each and every day.

“Monetary exchange is probably the most universal way in which we communicate, and what gets expressed is limited by our economic system,” Keats tells PSFK. “Experimenting with money appeals to me because there’s the potential to explore our unspoken social interactions.”

The Bank of England is fighting monetary obsolescence by updating the 10-pound note with a portrait of Jane Austen, an effort that is too little too late, according to Keats. Narcissism is the only way to get people using paper money again, before all of our transactions become nothing more than digital signals.

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“The selfie is a compulsion in search of a purpose, and the dollar and pound are products in need of an image boost,” explains Keats. His proposal would involve a modified ATM that would produce selfie coinage. The Selfie ATM would satisfy two basic human urges and promote physical currencies at the same time.

“First, people will value money more if their own face is on it, meaning that narcissism can counteract inflation,” says Keats. “Second, people will spend more money eagerly if spending adds to their celebrity, meaning that egotism can counteract financial stagnation.”

Given the strong connection between celebrity and wealth in modern society, and the possibility of the experiment preventing recession, selfie money should have little trouble gaining popular acceptance. Don’t miss out on this interesting thought exercise that also doubles as a satirical stab at selfie culture.

Jonathon Keats

Source: Future of Money Design Award
Images: Screenshots via Vimeo

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