How do you teach your kids the value of money in the digital age? The makers of Pigzbe, a digital wallet for kids, think it involves cryptocurrency.
When I was a kid, I counted my allowance in dimes, quarters, and dollars, hidden away in a very Breaking Bad-style stash in my desk. It was never much, but I knew what it was worth. Now that I’m a father myself, I can barely remember the last time I held cold hard cash. So how will I teach my kids the value of money, and that it literally hurts to spend it, as they grow older? Do I just Venmo them and pray they don’t get addicted to the convenience of credit?
Pigzbe is the sort of product made for just my demographic, or more specifically, my children. Designed by Primo Toys–makers of the mega-successful physical programming toy Cubetto–in conjunction with Pentagram Partner Jon Marshall, Pigzbe is essentially a digital piggy bank with a whole lot of bells and whistles. The bright pink, app-enabled digital wallet launches on Kickstarter today, starting at $79, with plans to ship this June. It allows a small group of parents and relatives to contribute very small amounts of money–as small as a penny–into a shared account through a smartphone app.
Whereas PayPal charges 30¢ to move a dollar, Pigzbe charges next to nothing.”You’re encouraged to send smaller amounts more frequently,” says Filippo Yacob, founder of Primo Toys. One small caveat: Pigzbe depends on a proprietary cryptocurrency to accomplish this feat.
Parents can set the Pigzbe app to auto-pay kids an allowance each week, and children can ask for payments for individual chores. Fun-sized capitalism? A primer for competing in the gig economy as an adult? Sure. Pigzbe is very much structured around the idea of working for a reward, perhaps at the risk of making the smallest domestic task a billed job.
As money comes in through the app, it blooms from an abstract number into an ever-growing tree, visualizing the power of savings. It also glows as a push notification on the Pigzbe wallet, a little pink LED device that can fit in a child’s pocket. A pig nose pops on the screen now and again, and the device beeps and boops when money is added through the app. The wallet has two buttons for simple functions, evoking a video game controller. And it even has a magnet to stick to the family’s refrigerator.
It’s a design that feels childlike, sure, but in a fun, self-aware way, almost like a Tamagotchi.