It is customary in Coin & Mint News™ two sister publications – Currency News™ and Cash & Payment News™ – to round off the year with a review of the key trends and developments over the preceding 12 months.
As we only launched Coin & Mint News in October, this doesn’t give us much to go on! But nevertheless, having tracked the coin community for the last few years via those publications, we will pick three key trends (to reflect the fact that we have been publishing for three months) that became ever more apparent over the course of 2022.
1. Sustainability – and in particular of the environmental kind. Coins by their nature are the ultimate recyclable product. But they do not score highly environmentally-wise on extraction, production and transportation.
However, the mint industry has always been a leader in corporate governance and ESG, and so it's perhaps not surprising that mints are among the leaders in the cash industry taking action to reduce their emissions, waste and the environmental impact of their product. These are not one-off exercises, but an ongoing process that is setting an example to other players in the broader cash community.
2. Circulation – or rather effective circulation. Hoarding has long been an issue – coins simply don’t recirculate. Their constant replenishment has financial and environmental costs that are increasingly no longer acceptable. And in some cases, isn’t even sufficient to fill the gap.
We heard last month in details from the Federal Reserve about the problems of coin shortages in the US. They certainly aren’t alone. Whilst many of the current issues were pandemic-induced, the underlying causes are long-standing – and if nothing else demonstrate the importance of coins in a functional payments system.
Issuers are taking action, and we can expect to see more imaginative solutions leading, for example, to more logical denominational structures and policies and programmes to get coins back into circulation.
3. Cooperation – the mint community has always worked collaboratively, to an extent not seen in the banknote or broader cash community. But this collaboration has been both inward-looking and informal.
This year has seen the formation of two new industry associations to advance best practice and advocate for coins and cash, and to create alliances with others in the cash cycle. The work being spearheaded by the MDWG in association with the banknote community via the International Currency Association to assess the environment impact of cash versus digital payments is a great example, and hopefully the start of more long-term collaboration and cooperation.
A trend is defined as a development towards something new or different. None of these trends started in 2022 – they were continuums. But this past year they have consolidated and become mainstream.
We look forward to covering other trends – emerging or continuing – in 2023.
As a reminder, this is the last free issue of Coin & Mint News, which will move to a subscription model as of January. Please feel free to sign up or contact us to discuss subscription options.
Until then, we wish you all the best for the coming holiday season, and a very Happy New Year.