Why is my pocket full of metal?

I hate having pockets full of change, or ‘shrapnel’ as it is known in Australia. I hate having most things in my pockets for that matter, but change is the most annoying, probably because there’s a very simple fix for it. Introducing the ShrapCard. Instead of receiving coins if your change indivisible by $5, you give the retailer your ShrapCard which works like an EFTPOS card and your change is credited to the ShrapCard.

I think the cards should have a limit of about $50 or $100 because you could empty it out for cash or pay for inexpensive items. You would buy it for a small fee (I’d pay 5 bucks in a heartbeat) from an automated ShrapCard dispenser machine which at the same time allows you to enter your own PIN onto the card. It would be anonymous for simplicity and ease of implementation. For those who just thought “anonymous = crime” – cash is pretty anonymous already isn’t it?

There could also be ShrapBins which you dump your coins into and have the balance credited to your card. They could also dispense coins for use in stone-age coin-only equipment. But to be honest, ShrapBins would have a limited lifespan. If everything from trains and trams to payphones and vending machines accepted ShrapCard, there would be little need for coins apart from having something to toss as a 1-bit random number generator.

But it could be more than just a solution to an annoyance. It would replace coins entirely, which have a pretty pathetic value:weight+volume ratio. There would be a minimal amount of new infrastructure required for retailers, as they’re basically just EFTPOS cards. It’s replacing all those bulky coin-hungry devices that would take time and money. The service would make its money the same way prepaid phones do; gobbling up the interest on your money that’s sitting there doing nothing.

Actually, CoinCard is probably a catchier name. This post is prior art, you know.

Introducing Bleauette


Frost Nova presents Bleauette, everyone’s favourite blue duck. Fabled to journey through the miscellany of our collective psyches for all eternity. From far away the animals come gather round to see, but she knows not how they feel, and she knows not what it means. Here’s the first chapter in this fateful saga, a collaborative effort between Josh and myself, made possible through the wonders of technology and boredom; not to mention the countless hours alone with a certain blue duck in a certain dark room watching way too much anime till the early hours of the morning. Thanks to Dave for the pic :-) Enjoy!

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