Digitalization for easy and fun collecting

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Understanding better the coin collectors and finding out the possibilities in digitalisation to enhance the numismatic hobby

Digitalization for easy and fun collecting

David Bowie saw the future in the 1999 interview, when he said: “I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable.”

Digitalization has extensive disruptive powers. It seems to have an impact on the societal structures that we thought to be permanent, like cash money or democratic elections. Often quite misleadingly it is thought that digitalization is about technology, since the technology used is often new, unfamiliar to many and it is difficult to see behind it.

But the digitalization is more importantly about the power. Who has it, and who has not. It is about the possibilities regarding the new business models and the new opportunities for earning. It is the process of moving to a digital business, which is also a possibility for the mints of the world. Mint of Finland welcomes all the future-oriented mints to co-create a new digital service to the coin collectors.

Digitalization opens new possibilities for coins

Since 2016, Mint of Finland has been working on finding out what kind of impact digitalization will have on cash money and what kind of future there will be for the cash industry. We have built up four different scenarios for paying with variables regarding societal and technological development.

Having worked with the scenarios we in Mint of Finland believe that the diversity of payment methods is better for society as a whole. Different population groups will have the opportunity to use the payment methods best suited to them.

Besides the scenarios, Mint of Finland has also build up over 50 different digital concepts for coin collecting and for coins as gifts among other things. Mint of Finland thinks that it is important that people see physical objects like coins in different digital environments. Mints of the world have many advantages in digital world, and we can differentiate with what is in the very core, namely the ability to produce precise metallic currency and being trusted by the central banks as producers of national currencies.

The future of coin collecting lies in the possibilities of democratization the content

Mint of Finland picked one of the concepts regarding digital services to coin collectors and started to study it little bit deeper.

Many of the laymen have rather dusty image about coin collectors, but actually, there has never been more information about coins available to the collectors as there is today. Digitalization in coin collecting today means mainly the auction platforms, and the difficulty is that the information is scattered and cannot always be trusted.

But however, the dusty image is not entirely wrong. The ways how collector coins are marketed as investments feel a bit old-fashioned today. And still today the needs of young collectors for online education and online communities are quite often neglected. Mint of Finland believes that the future of coin collecting lies in the possibilities of democratization of content and the mints of the world could have a very suitable role as the trusted actors in providing reliable information and guaranteeing safety and security in the society.

Understanding more deeply the collectors

When looking a bit deeper into the concept, it was necessary to change the perspective by using the design thinking method where the human being is in the centre. Understanding the collectors and finding out what they find difficult in their hobby.

The main research questions were if the collectors were interested in digital services at all and what kind of services, they were interested in. The target in more concrete terms was to find early proof-of-interest towards the digital services, collect a wait list, identify the most sought-after features and identify the potential customers.

The so-called soft launch method was used in order to reach the targets. A soft launch is a pre-release of a product or service to a limited audience prior to the general public. Soft launch can be used to gather data and feedback regarding its acceptance in the marketplace, prior to finalising the product and making it widely available. Soft launch can also be used to test the functionality of a product, allowing adjustments to be made before a wider release and marketing efforts are implemented.

Promising results

The most important research finding was that over 60 % of the target groups that we reached during the soft launch, are extremely interested in the digital service. This is a strong indicator for us to continue developing the new service.

Another significant finding was a group of collectors that we call the Modernists was found. They are collectors who, regardless of their age and collecting experience, are enthusiastic about the opportunities that digitalisation brings to coin collecting.

They are 94% male and have over 20 years of experience, they have started the hobby following the footsteps of someone from their family or when the Euro currency started. They buy their coins online and from mints.

Welcoming the mints of the world to co-create

Based on the information received from the soft launch a clickable prototype was build and it will be validated in the user tests. Mint of Finland is eager to share these learnings. The collectors form a great global community that we want to notice. We also want to embrace the long tradition of co-operation within the minting industry, also in the future.

Mint of Finland is inviting all future-oriented world mints to become the co-creators for this global digital service. Our goal is to make coin collecting easier and more fun for the collectors and also attract new collectors to the hobby. Mint of Finland vision is to have all world coins in this one service by inviting world mints as the most trustworthy partners for the service.

Got interested? You are welcome to contact us. We will organize discussions to those interested.

Henna Karjalainen
Vice President, Communications