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The Almighty Buck Government United States Technology

New High Tech $100 Bills Start To Circulate Today 302

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "New $100 bills made their debut today in the U.S. They include high tech features designed to make it easier for the public to authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. Those measures include a blue, 3-D security ribbon, as well as color-shifting ink that changes from copper to green when the note is tilted (PDF). That ink can be found on a large '100' on the back of the bill, on one of the '100's' on the front, and on a new image of an ink well that's also on the front. 'The $100 is the highest value denomination that we issue, and it circulates broadly around the world,' says Michael Lambert, assistant director for cash at the Federal Reserve Board. 'Therefore, we took the necessary time to develop advanced security features that are easy for the public to use in everyday transactions, but difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.' The bill was originally due to reach banks in 2011, but three years ago the Federal Reserve announced that a problem with the currency's new security measures was causing the bills to crease during printing, which left blank spaces on the bills. This led the Feds to shred more than 30 million of the bills in 2012. The image of Benjamin Franklin will be the same as on the current bill, but like all the other newly designed currencies, it will no longer be surrounded by an dark oval. Except for the $1 and $2 bill, all U.S. paper currency has been redesigned in the last 10 years to combat counterfeiting."
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New High Tech $100 Bills Start To Circulate Today

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:54PM (#45075763)

    And yet they can't do such basic things as, say, change the sizes of the notes so that vision impaired people can tell the difference between a one dollar and ten dollar bill just by checking its length. (Have a look at the Australian notes [wikipedia.org] for an example: each note is seven millimeters longer than the preceding one by value.)

    They'd also do well by dropping the one and two dollar bills, replacing them with coins; the currency has devalued so much, it's not worth keeping the low value notes as notes. You could also make a case for ditching the penny, to boot.

    But hey, what would I know ...

    • They'd also do well by dropping the one and two dollar bills, replacing them with coins; the currency has devalued so much, it's not worth keeping the low value notes as notes. You could also make a case for ditching the penny, to boot.

      But hey, what would I know ...

      The government would *love* to be able to discontinue those bills, and replace them with coins. But to date, there have been *two* attempts to replace the $1 bill with a $1 coin, and both have failed miserably because people refused to use them.

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        not true, the only reason the programs failed was because the government cowardly refused to proactively remove and destroy $1 bills. the lifetime of a $1 bill is only 18 months on average, in two years the country could be converted over

        • This was done in Canada, and it worked just like you described. I always wondered why the US didn't do it the same way.
          • by mark-t (151149)

            No... it was not. Canada did not pull the $1 bill from circulation until about 2 years after the coin was introduced.

            They did, however, pull the $2 note from circulation at the same time that they introduced the $2 coin.

      • by Golddess (1361003)

        The government would *love* to be able to discontinue those bills, and replace them with coins.

        It costs 18.03 cents [usmint.gov] to mint those dollar coins, but only 5.4 cents [federalreserve.gov] to print a one dollar bill. So why exactly would they want to get rid of the paper bill?

        • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @07:00PM (#45076327)

          It costs 18.03 cents [usmint.gov] to mint those dollar coins, but only 5.4 cents [federalreserve.gov] to print a one dollar bill. So why exactly would they want to get rid of the paper bill?

          Because coins can last for decades, whereas paper money has to be continually replaced. I'm sure I read somewhere that the Bank of England heats the building by burning old money, which is replaced by new notes.

          • by Golddess (1361003)
            Bah, of course I'd overlook something so obvious. :P

            Thanks.
        • because a coin "lasts" 20 years, and dollar bills only 1.5 years. - so "20 year-dollars" worth of paper bills costs 72 cents vs 18.03.
        • by sjames (1099)

          Because the paper bill only lasts 18 months but the coin can go for many years. Don't forget the cost to securely destroy the worn out notes. The notes end up much more expensive.

      • by sjames (1099)

        The first one was far too easily mistaken for a quarter. No idea about the second one other than the only place I ever actually saw one was from a stamp vending machine.

        I'll bet if they had just said no more $1 notes will be printed, it would have worked fine.

    • by mirix (1649853)

      I like how euros (and most European currencies in general, IME) physically scale(d) with value, very handy even for a person with good vision.

      Definitely disagree on the 1/2 bills though. Canada got rid of both years ago, and there's just too much bloody change. I need to get suspenders or something.

      (we did finally kill the penny this year, though. thank god).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by vux984 (928602)

        I like how euros (and most European currencies in general, IME) physically scale(d) with value, very handy even for a person with good vision.

        Whereas I dislike that.

        I think Canada has enough, between the colors, and the tactile feedback.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_currency_tactile_feature [wikipedia.org]

        My grandmother lived a sighted life but her vision is deteriorating with age, and while she is unlikely to ever learn braille she had no problem mastering the new "not really braille" on the new bills. I think its

  • by JeffOwl (2858633) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:54PM (#45075765)
    So why would I bother trying to counterfeit the newer more difficult bills instead of just doing the older easier ones since they remain legal tender?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Eventually, these get circulated enough so that when a cashier is presented with an old $100, they can inspect it more thoroughly because they don't have to do it as often.

    • So why would I bother trying to counterfeit the newer more difficult bills instead of just doing the older easier ones since they remain legal tender?

      As the years go by the older notes will get less common, especially new looking old notes.

      I was at a casino once and this guy put a stack of crisp old style 100s on the table. The casino employees spent 15 minutes inspecting them, calling others over to look at them, etc before they accepted them.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @06:28PM (#45076077)

        That's why forgers have found ways to "age" their bills. It works a bit like aging jeans to give them that appealing "ruggedly used" look.

        Yes, "laundering money" gets a whole new meaning that way.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        ...and they promptly set them aside in the cage, to be deposited and not mixed with the circulating bills, as most of the slot machine bill validators (the most likely target for any $100 bill in a casino) won't read them.

        That said, as a frequent gambler, I still get the occasional small-head hundred from casinos. They don't sequester all of them.

    • by GrandCow (229565)

      So why would I bother trying to counterfeit the newer more difficult bills instead of just doing the older easier ones since they remain legal tender?

      Because change takes time and you need to start somewhere? They'll start phasing out the old $100's at the bank and replacing them with the new ones. The old ones will be destroyed. As people use them and more leave circulation it will be more and more suspicious for people to break out the older bills. Will there still be counterfeit bills popping up for years? Sure. But the point is that it will become more suspicious if someone tries to cash in a lot of them.

      • But by the time it really is suspicious, don't you think the forgers catch on?

        So far every security feature has been thwarted sooner or later. The new roadblock is the color changing ink. Well, let's see how long it takes. I give it a year.

        • by sjames (1099)

          It' already been several years and nobody has managed to get the ink right (this bill is not the first to use it).

          The second 3D security strip is new as well and is woven in to the paper.

    • So why would I bother trying to counterfeit the newer more difficult bills instead of just doing the older easier ones since they remain legal tender?

      Because it'll only work so long. They collect and destroy the old bills and replace them with new ones. About 15 years ago, I tried to "pass" some real 20-year-old dollar bills I inherited. They'd been sitting unused in a desk. Since they were a little different from the then-current design, they occasionally got some extra scrutiny.

      Pedant note: I'm not claiming that this is foolproof or anything. Just noting something I experienced using new old stock bills.

      • They should have some kind of built in expiry enforcement mechanism on the bill. If they are not traded in for new ones within, say, 10 years they should become worthless, or ramp down in value to zero over the years. All it needs is a published expiry date on the bill.
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        You can absolutely make a SMALL quantity of old bills, and you can pass a few of them without issue. Small-time counterfeiters likely do.

        But you can't move wholesale blocks of old currency without raising the wrong (right?) eyebrows.

    • by sjames (1099)

      The more time passes, the more suspicion using one of the old bills will raise. t some point it becomes a problem for people trying to pass counterfeit old hundreds.

  • In other news... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sydbarrett74 (74307) <sydbarrett74.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:59PM (#45075803)
    ...the United States still has the world's fugliest currency.
    • ...the United States still has the world's fugliest currency.

      What, you got a problem with Olmec heads and vague references to the illuminati? :3

  • It's not... green? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @06:00PM (#45075819)

    Is it me, or does it have a bluish tinge now that makes it easier to tell that it's a different denomination?

    Most countries already use different colored bills to help distinguish one denomination from another (and to aid in quickly determining how much cash on hand you have by a quick glance). Only in the US do I have to manually count out every bill to make sure a $5 didn't sneak in with the $1s and so on.

    Of course, perhaps it's time to go beyond linen/cotton/paper based bills and move to plastic (polymer) based ones...

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      Is it me, or does it have a bluish tinge now that makes it easier to tell that it's a different denomination?

      Sorry since we're spending more than we take in we can no longer print with Green Ink. Using Red Ink would have been a give away to the Republicans so now we're just printing them with the Blue ink instead so you'll support the current Administration by using them and you won't feel so bad that that $100 bill is only worth about $4.50 now.

    • by compro01 (777531) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @06:37PM (#45076145)

      Yes, all the bills except the $1 and $2 are slightly different colours now. The $5 is purple, the $10 is orange, the $20 is green, the $50 is pink, and the $100 is teal.

      The ruling in American Council of the Blind v. Paulson required them to add accessibility features to the notes and the colours are one of those, in addition to some kind of tactile feature.

      • Money has to be colored to help blind people?
        • "It is an organization mainly made up of blind and visually impaired people"
          Yes, it is a bad name for such an organization, causing confusion among lazy snarky people everywhere.

    • It's Matrix money. It could only harm you to analyze it too deeply.
  • Hey, wonder why they didn't incorporate the accidental blank spaces as an additional security feature? You know, like old school game disks used to have certain sectors purposefully corrupted as a method of copy protection, so if you copied the game to a new disk and the computer didn't see the bad sectors where it expected to, it would know it was a copy...

    • by Alomex (148003)

      Bills have (or used to have) intentional mistakes that a hand engraver was likely to fix subconsciously, including in some cases typos in microprint and tiny jagged (as if by accident) straight lines.

      Nowadays bills are copied using high-speed high-precision laser scanners so I do not know if those artifacts are still used as security devices.

    • Uh, because anyone making a set of counterfeit plates would just make sure his plates had the same blank spaces? The idea is to put in features that the counterfeiters couldn't easily copy...

      (and FYI - it took me about 20 minutes to slap together a simple TSR to provide the proper "bad" sectors where required for those stupid disks. Turns out that was trivially easy to get around too...)

      • Encrypt the serial number into the features on both sides of the bill. That way at least the forgers have to copy multiple bills using multiple plates if they want a bunch of different serial numbers.
        • Encrypt the serial number into the features on both sides of the bill. That way at least the forgers have to copy multiple bills using multiple plates if they want a bunch of different serial numbers.

          So how is the *government* going to print these things, without having a different set of plates for every serial number?

          FYI - Bills are typicallly printed in sheets, without the serial numbers, and the serial numbers are added in a later printing step.

  • by Gravis Zero (934156) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @06:43PM (#45076179)

    $100 bills are the most popular bill counterfeited in the world. however, $20 bills are the most popular bill counterfeited in the US.

    the new design is going to piss off North Korea because they counterfeit US $100 bills like crazy: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2013/1008/New-100-bill-why-North-Korea-won-t-be-very-happy-video [csmonitor.com]

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:26PM (#45076941) Journal

    Iran has been circulating these new $100s since last week.

  • Apparently, almost a year ago to the day, a "large amount" [cnn.com] were stolen from a Philly airport [huffingtonpost.com]. I couldn't find a follow-up (might be what I used for initial sources), but am I now to believe these theives can finally spend their cash? Or was the design tweaked since then? I suppose if it was, it would benefit the FBI investigation to not have that stated.

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