Imagining a world in which our footprint becomes our currency. Terracoin is a speculative design project that centers around climate change. It aims to make scarcity of resources and the carbon footprint more relatable, by connecting it to having financial issues.
A dystopian scenario
In a dystopian future scenario some time after 2020 after the Paris agreement failed as a radical last option governments established a world wide currency that exists in parallel with local currencies.
Every month each citizen receives a fixed amount of terracoins, tied to the earth’s resources. Each product and service that is sold to customers has to calculate exactly what resources were wasted for their creation¹. The resulting number is its cost in Terracoins.
the Terracoin package
As a visual representation of the scenario, we designed the official terracoin package that every person would receive to keep track of their budget. It consists of a digital wallet and a physical object to represent the personal footprint².
The visual language of the project takes inspiration from Tadao Ando, Kenya Hara, Dieter Rams and the illustrations from »Anatomy of an AI System«. We aimed for a timeless, clean, almost clinical appeal, creating a minimalistic image of the future.
the digital wallet
The wallet is tied to the individual using a unique ID, showing their expanses, opportunities to generate income, but also how work and private life are influenced by the introducing of the terracoin. The budget is split into four parts that represent the most significant areas of influence on climate change.
the physical device
Apart from being a visualization of your budget, The device uses light to intentionally change peoples emotional state, emitting biodynamic relaxing light when your budget is just fine, and gradually changing to unevenly flickering light, when you budget is reaching a critical area, becoming more stressful the worse a person manages their budget.
Our primary objective is to raise awareness for how limited our ressources actually are³, by tying the for us mostly unrelatable issue of scarcity of ressources to very real and relatable monetary problems.
While being extremely unrealistic, it is also a very interesting thought experiment to imagine societal and economic consequences of the currency. What inequalities would be increased, what new inequalities would arise because of the coexistence of the regular currency and the terracoin? How would those two currencies influence each other?