World’s first banknotes to feature QR codes
Last year, the Royal Dutch Mint, the Netherlands’ issuer of coins, introduced the world to QR coded coins. These coins featured small QR codes that could be scanned by a smart phone or other mobile device. When scanned, the codes would direct people to a mobile website where they could find information on the Royal Dutch Mint and what went into making the coins. Though this was the world’s first glimpse at QR code currency, it would not be the last. Now, the world’s oldest state-owned bank, Svergis Riksbank of Sweden, has announced the first banknotes to feature QR codes.
Goran Osterlund to design the codes and the notes
The bank held a competition to find an artist that could make functional, yet visually appealing QR codes. The competition came to an end late last year with artist and engraver Goran Osterlund winning the privilege to fashion the codes for the new banknotes. Osterlund will designs the new banknotes and determine the placement of two QR codes that will be featured on the currency. The codes are meant to direct people to the Svergis Riksbank website where they can find a wealth of information concerning the organization, its history, and the services it offers to Swedish citizens.
Security concerns abound
QR coded currency may seem like little more than novelty, but using the codes on money has created a great deal of controversy. Svergis Riksbank itself is wary of using QR codes on currency, despite the fact that it facilitated the contest to create such currency. The bank is concerned that there may be serious security issues linked to the use of the codes. In recent months, this concern has proven somewhat accurate with the appearance of codes linking to malicious content. Part of the reason QR codes could be dangerous is because they access a users’ personal information when it is scanned.
Security risks may prevent QR code currency from entering circulation
The bank had originally intended for the new QR coded banknotes to enter circulation in 2015. This has changed, however, due to concerns regarding security. The bank considers QR codes in their current form to be “neither practical nor appropriate” for the purpose they are meant to serve. As such, Svergis Riksbank is working to make their QR codes more secure and will apply these codes to future banknotes.