Although some consider plastic the currency of the future, the Netherlands will be introducing a thoroughly modern coin tomorrow that you can actually scan with your smartphone to get additional information. This new coin, which was made to celebrate the Royal Dutch Mint’s 100th anniversary, has a QR code (short for Quick Response Code) on the “tail” side.
QR codes are more compact than barcodes, yet they can hold more information. The matrix–which can include text, a URL, or other data–consists of black dots and lines arranged in a white square. These scannable codes were originally used to track auto parts but now they are used in advertising, promotions, and even modern art. To access the hidden information requires your smartphone’s camera and a downloadable app (such as QR Droid on Android and QR Reader for iPhone). The codes usually lead you to a website with more information on whatever you’re scanning. When the coin comes out tomorrow, the code will lead you to the mint’s website, which will include an undisclosed “surprise.”
There’s no information available on what this surprise might be, but the more important question is: will this new scan-able coin become a new trend among currency? Only time will tell if by next year we can scan pennies for a little surprise from Honest Abe.