Future Problem Solving International Competition Topic 2023

Topic Summary

People have mostly relied on some form of currency (money) to buy and sell goods and services for thousands of years. Whether it’s an allowance from parents, debts carried and paid, or commercial deals worth billions, the transfer of money is ever-present. Currency is exchanged between individuals, companies, and governments. Countries seek to protect their currency through monetary policy. But, what one country views as helpful policies are often considered harmful by others. Multinational currencies such as the Euro have changed the face of the global economy. Will multinational currencies lead to global currencies? How might the end of government-backed currencies shape global politics and economic exchanges? What role will cryptocurrency play?

The increasing digitization of currency calls into question the understanding of what currency is and what it means to its users. How would the end of paper money impact societies around the world? Alongside governmental action, individuals have the opportunity to create and promote investment options targeted to specific beliefs or practices. How will the use of money/currency evolve in the future?

Let's take a look at the history of Currency!

Check out this brief video on the history of Currency:

What if we had a Global Currency?

Although collecting foreign currencies is incredibly fun, converting your money every time you travel to a new country can be extremely annoying. Would it be possible to establish a single world currency?


Think: What are the benefits to having a global or universal currency?

Use the Vocabulary!

Use the list of Currency Vocabulary words to create practice Step 1 Challenges and Step 3 solutions using as many vocabulary words as possible.

  • Create 4 Challenges and 4 Solutions.
  • Highlight each vocabulary word used.
  • Count the number of words you used. Earn 1 point for each word, and 2 points for each word that you utilized that provides an explanation of the meaning of the word!
  • Now, calculate how much you earned! First determine how much you earned in your own country's currency. (Use 1 unit of currency, like a dollar, per point)
  • Next, use an online currency calculator, (see currency calculator) to discover how many Euros you earned?
  • How many Japanese Yen did you earn?
  • How many Brazilian Reals did you earn?

How do you use coins?

Are coins becoming obsolete?

Are coins in your area valuable?

What is the future of coin currency?

How are "Big Macs" related to Currency?

The Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalize the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries.

Burgernomics was never intended to be a precise gauge of currency misalignment, but, just a tool to make exchange-rate theory more understandable. Yet, the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of dozens of academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, you can calculate the gourmet version of the index.

Let's Examine the Big Mac!

Did you know you can find a McDonalds restaurant in over 100 countries around the world?

Explore: and examine the graph there.

Answer the following questions:

1. Where is the most expensive Big Mac?

2. Where is the least expensive?

3. Because there is not a McDonalds in every country around the world, what might be a more universal product to do a global currency comparison? Why?

4. Go to

Examine the map and read the article about countries that have McDonalds.

5. Which country outside the US has the most McDonalds?

6. Which European country has the most McDonalds? How many does it have?

Apply: Find an online currency calculator.

Compare costs for 3 common items in countries on 3 different continents around the world.

For example:

a loaf of bread in South Africa, in Japan, and in your home area

How did the items compare? What factors do you think may affect the currency for a loaf of bread? Now, name 3 new items and do a currency comparison. You may use any 3 different currencies for your comparison.

Think: What factors affect currency values? Why do these values change periodically? Do you think having a global currency will ever be possible? Why or Why not?

Big picture

Understanding Cryptocurrency...

This video on Cryptocurrency covers all the important concepts from the basics to the advanced. Discover how Cryptocurrency originated, how Cryptocurrency works, how Cryptocurrency benefits us, and how it works on Blockchain.

What is Bitcoin?

Demonstrate what you learned from the videos by answering the following questions:

1. When did cryptocurrency use begin?

2. What are 3 benefits of using cryptocurrency?

3. Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

4. How did Nakamoto propose to prove a digital currency user had enough funds to support their spending?

5. What is the role of banks in digital currency use?

6. Is digital currency easy to hack or steal? Why or why not?

7. What is the transaction limit for using cryptocurrency?

8. What is block chain technology?

9. Why is Malta known as Blockchain Island?

10. Who is a well known person who supports cryptocurrency?

CBDC...Just what is it?

Let's learn about Centralized Bank Digital Currency.

Go To:

Watch the short video about CBDC. As you watch, complete the attached Pros and Cons T-chart and then determine what YOU think is the future of Centralized Bank Digitalized Digital Currency?

Let's have some Currency Fun--and Practice Step 6!

Pretend the year is 2053. You are a digital currency mogul. Design what your digital currency coin or logo would look like. Now think about what your block chain would be like. What kinds of protection and assurances would you offer your clients?

Next, write a Step 2 UP for an imaginary Future Scene. You might create something like this: How Might We improve the digital currency platform for 2053 so that more people can access a secure form of digital currency?

  • Add a condition phrase to the UP that is appropriate for your idea
  • Modify or adapt the purpose of the UP if necessary
  • Include WHO will implement this plan
  • Describe in detail HOW this plan will be implemented
  • Tell WHY it solves your UP
  • Give at least 3 reasons why this is the best Action Plan (as if you are referring to Step 4 criteria)
  • Explain WHY this Action Plan is humane
  • Evaluate your Action Plan. Where do you need to add more elaboration? How can you add more futuristic ideas? Can you add any statistics or research? Can you make your ideas more original or creative?
Big picture