Loughborough University
FreyaProbst-PhD-Thesis-copyright.pdf (5.68 MB)

Designing digital money gifts in intimate friendships

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posted on 2023-03-24, 16:09 authored by Freya Probst

Digital money enables a convenient and efficient gift across distance. Yet, money as a gift can face limitations when exchanged in intimate friendships. This thesis develops a framework to inform how digital money gifts could become regarded more positively in such a relationship context. In the view of new digital developments that connect money to other types of digital applications new promising possibilities emerge for its design. While much literature studied digital money gifts in group or more distanced relationships, there is a lack of understanding regarding problems and possibilities in the design of digital money gifts in intimate relationships. A speculative design approach is applied to support thinking beyond current approaches to understanding and meeting human needs. A challenge is to support the experience in a solely digital context that allows more immediate exchange across geographical distance. A central question of this thesis is: “How can digital money be designed as a gift in intimate friendships with digital creativity?”

Study 1 explored the current usage and possible limitations throughout a pilot survey and two speculative scenarios in a focus group study. This revealed experiential requirements, but also concerns about a potential negative impact to their relationships. Moreover, there were restrictions of digital money in meeting the expectations as a gift, especially in more intimate friendships. Study 2 reveals the weighty design factors to consider that show a potential to be relationship-strengthening and to support a greater appropriateness of digital money in a gift exchange situation.

The thesis contributes to the lack of literature in studying digital money gifts in more intimate friendships by (1) understanding the possible problems of digital money as a gift in that context, (2a) finding the important and unimportant design factors to support relationship-strengthening gifts, and (2b) appropriateness of the digital money gift in intimate friendships. (3) New concepts are provided into the way money can be designed as a gift, and how its design could affect its perception. (4) The framework that has been developed throughout the research is discussed in its ability to inspire succeeding research and inform the design of digital money as a gift.


Loughborough University Scholarship



  • Design and Creative Arts


  • Design


Loughborough University

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© Freya Probst

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University. This is a redacted version of the e-thesis. The unredacted version of this e-thesis has a permanent embargo due to copyright and is kept in closed access.


  • en


Martin Maguire ; Cees de Bont ; Hyosun Kwon

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  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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