Apr. 1, 2015 | By Simon

Between the variety of new currency types that we’ve been seeing sprouting up including the popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and its various spinoffs, it seems like it was only a matter of time before 3D printing found its way into the currency mix.  Thanks to some inspired developers, printing our own money to spend on everything from mochas at Starbucks to new sneakers from Nike may soon become a reality.

A new software program called P-YOM (Print Your Own Money) has been designed to allow consumers who use Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrency systems to print their own coins using their personal 3D printers.  

The software works by integrating into existing consumer and commercial 3D printers and will electronically watermark barcodes onto each 3D printed physical coin.  The codes will then enable the poker chip-like coins to be tracked on the internet to validate their authenticity.    

“We’ve had a limited test run with P-YOM amongst our staff and they absolutely loved it,” said Dr. Alex Kingsbury, lead scientist for the project.  

“Three of them have gone on indefinite leave and we haven’t heard back from them since they last contacted us from the French Riviera.  We’re also working with the gaming industry on a 3D printer / poker machine prototype, that could literally create its own winnings. It’s a bit of a gamble currently, but we do hope it will feature heavily once we get it right.”

Although the currency can work similar to any other national currency (where it’s accepted), the Australian Tax Office classified online cryptocurrency as a barter system rather than an ‘official’ recognized currency-type.  The developers of P-YOM are hoping that the office will reconsider the classification of their physical coins.  However since the currency isn’t tied to any national financial system and its user can make anonymous purchases with it, tracking the currency is difficult and thus, been a hurdle for having it approved by national offices including Australia’s.

“We knew of the great work CSIRO did in inventing waterproof bank notes for Australians, so we hoped they could help us create a water-tight currency,” said Julie Kansas of Rikers Online Financial Liquidities, an online currency trader.  

“We think if we can physically put our currency into the hands of a few officials at the ATO, they might change their minds.”

Either way, the concept of 3D printed money is nothing short of a wild and futuristic and we hope that Dr. Kingsbury can move forward with making it a reality.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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