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Crowdfunding / Cryptocurrency / Design / Lifestyle

Your kid’s new piggy bank will take bitcoins

We spoke with the creative director behind ERNIT, an app-connected piggy bank that accepts many types of payments.

ERNIT is a piggy bank for the modern age. (Courtesy photo)

Wouldn’t it be easier if Grandma could just Venmo her grandkids money for their birthdays, rather than put that $10 bill in a $4.50 card that will immediately be thrown out by a norepinephrine-addled seven-year-old? (Dang, that got bleak.)
That’s part of the thinking behind a new product currently being funded on Kickstarter. ERNIT is a digital piggy bank that accepts all kinds of currencies (including bitcoin!) in all sorts of methods (credit card!). Kids are able to pick things they want to buy online and watch as their percentage toward that goal increases.
We talked to ERNIT founder and chief creative officer Mads Tagel about the idea:
What was the problem you saw and how did you try to solve for it with this project?
When my kids reached the ages of six and eight, we wanted to involve them more in the ever expanding workload of being a family. That meant doing chores like washing the dishes. We created a star system to reward them. They responded well and the first couple of months we sat down together and went through all the stars and gave them money accordingly.

piggy

ERNIT in action. (Courtesy image)


But after two months, I, the supposed responsible father, didn’t have any bills or coins, so I promised a recount later. That didn’t happen because money was just not something I had laying around. Then the kids lost faith and the whole thing kind of collapsed. That sparked a conversation between the founders one night and after some rounds of red wine the idea of a digital piggy bank was born. A piggy bank for digital money.
Why did you choose to accept bitcoin?
We think bitcoin is important. It’s part of the money system now and it’s going to play an even more relevant part in the future. It offers us a flexibility that regular (and regulated) banks cannot. Furthermore, bitcoin is born global and we want to be able to offer this platform to everyone regardless of geography.
How long have you been working on this and what other stuff have you worked on? 
Well, that infamous red wine night was almost three years ago. There has been a lot of prototyping since then starting with cardboard boxes and ending with 3D-printed models like the one we used in the Kickstarter movie. It has not only been an exploration in form, but also in our memories about piggy banks, money and talks about savings with mom and dad. We wanted the shape to be emotional to both young and old.
The app is the story of usability, UX and testing. It has almost two completely separate sections: kids and adult, where the kid section is playful, colorful and intuitive with sole focus on goals and the parent section is more of a familiar interface with focus on easy management.
Why do you choose to work in Brooklyn and how do you find it?
We chose BK mostly because of our friends at Lemonsqueeze who are helping us with regards to setting up shop in the U.S. But we have also for a long time talked about being a part of the tech startup scene in NYC and especially here in Brooklyn. We feel that the creative vibe is close to our own Nordic design roots and we just love some of the ideas coming out of Brooklyn. Being here is a dream come true for all of us.

Companies: Kickstarter
Series: Brooklyn

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