While many cryptocurrency projects focus on hype and marketing, Monero has worked on getting the foundation right first before engaging in outreach. More than three years after its birth, the community is now undertaking a clever guerilla marketing campaign to spread awareness and encourage broader adoption by individuals.
The plan, known as Stamp Monero, is to use ink stamps to put the Monero symbol on fiat notes. The idea is interesting as it uses the existing fiat system to promote a decentralized and more fungible alternative. Insofar as dollar bills have serial numbers, they are marginally less fungible then Monero.
Think of the velocity of paper notes. A banknote can pass through many hands in a just a single day. The idea to print the Monero symbol on bills will no doubt attract the attention of whoever handles them. It also resembles classical conditioning in that it will inspire further investigation of Monero when they think about money.
On the other hand, cash is utilized less and less in many countries, with mobile bank accounts, payment apps, and contactless cards taking up the slack.
Monerooby_Doo, one of the contributors behind the initiative, stated their intentions regarding the campaign in a Reddit post, “We believe stamping physical fiat currency is an efficient and legal way to spread the word about Monero.”
The Evolution of an Idea
The idea to use paper money as a sort of advertisement for its competition is not new. The Bitcoin community’s attempt would take us back to 2012 with bitcoin.org using their mark, and later, other varieties such as the one shown below.
Stamp Monero also serves as a way to raise money for the project to go toward various proposals, as the website sells stamps that enthusiasts can purchase to print notes of their own. From the funds raised through this small enterprising effort, 10 percent will be allocated to the general Monero fund and various Monero Funding Forum System (FFS) projects.
In the spirit of open source, a file is available free of charge for anyone who wants to make their own stamp, as shipping to people outside of the US may be quite expensive.
Is it Legal to Deface the Banknotes I Own?
One Reddit user pointed out the potential illegal nature of the campaign. The website’s FAQ states that lawyers have been consulted and are sure that it is a legal thing to do, while alvinjoelsantos responded:
“Really depends on the intent. If your main motivation is to increase awareness because you are a bag holder and would like to see the value on XMR rise (e.g., speculative “investor”), it could be viewed as advertising for a personal gain and run afoul of 18 U.S. Code § 475. However, if your intent is more ideological (e.g., cyberpunk), it could be argued it is political speech. In any case, this does not stop an overzealous prosecutor from charging a person if they wanted to.”
Another user points to a UK government site that suggests ‘defacing’ banknotes, such as printing letters or numbers, is illegal. But the criminal act is routinely done for business purposes, among other things, as you will often see handwritten numbers on £10 and £20 notes. The law in question seems to be one that is neither regularly, or tightly, enforced.
In the battle of cryptocurrency against fiat, there are many fronts. In the physical world, there is perhaps no better way to advertise a path to financial sovereignty than on the banknotes used in everyday life. Sometimes, it is the wrong time and the wrong place to tell your friend about bitcoin, let alone monero. Stamp Monero seems a more fitting way to open the door, and let them walk through themselves.
The author owns some monero; this article is in no way endorsing stamping particular pieces of paper with a monero symbol, it is up to the individual.