Special Scratch: World’s First Coins Featuring QR Codes

Coins in the Netherlands just got a lot more interesting. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the mint in Utrecht, the Royal Dutch Mint released some high-tech coins that beautifully combine old and new. On the front, Queen Beatrix smiles from a 3D image. Around her face, elements of the mint building adorn the 5 Euro (silver) and 10 Euro (gold) coins. But when you turn the coin over, you see the non-traditional element of this new design.

The reverse side of the coin features a fully scannable QR code. When scanned, the code points to the Mint’s official commemorative website and a “special surprise.” These commemorative coins are the world’s first currency to feature QR codes, though we can’t imagine they will be the last. This idea presents a unique opportunity for governments to sell advertising space, conduct promotions or even just keep “real” money circulating rather than being entirely replaced by plastic cards. Only a limited number of the commemorative coins were released beginning on June 23, 2011.

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See more in Industrial Design or under Technology. July, 2011.
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