The United States government will be phasing in a new $100.00 bill that is loaded with high tech features to thwart counterfeiters.The bills will go into circulation in February of 2011. Although hundred dollar bills are not in common use in the United States, they are very popular overseas. About 2/3 of all hundred dollar bills are circulating outside the continental US.
This makes it very tempting to try to counterfeit “Benjamins” and has already led to high tech counterfeits of the American “C note”. It is less likely abroad that US law enforcement will slap the cuffs on counterfeiters. Additionally, there are terrorists who finance their operations and attempt to destabilize the US economy by circulating bogus currency. This is not a new tactic. The Nazis actually made a lot of trouble for the British with their circulation of fake British money that was made famous in the movie “The Counterfeiters”.
In some places with weak or worthless currencies, the US dollar becomes a widely accepted and preferred means of payment. In Zimbabwe, for instance prices are denominated in dollars. It is now legal for private firms to pay their workers in South African Rand, US dollars or any other agreed upon currency.
Ecuador actually took a step beyond that in September of 2000 when they made the US dollar their official currency. They still have local coins that are denominated in US dollars, although they use US paper money for larger amounts.
Whenever a country finds itself plagued with hyperinflation or other economic instability, the US dollar has provided an alternative as a stable currency. So protecting our money is not just an internal matter, but one which affects the integrity of hundreds of billions of US dollars abroad. Whether it is Nazis, Al Qaeda or common gangsters, someone is always looking to print the perfect bogus bill. Criminals are constantly catching up, and the US has to stay ahead.
What is so unique about the new hundred dollar note? The Christian Science Monitor reports as follows.
“Among the many new high-tech security features, a blue ribbon will give a 3-D effect to micro-images on the bill. Tilt the note back and forth and you will see tiny bells on the ribbon change to 100s as they move. And that’s one of the reasons for the new design. “You can check these features without holding the bills up to a special light,” says Mr. Donovan.”
There has been counterfeiting for as long as there has been money.How long will it be before the newest hundred dollar note is “cracked”? Time will tell.
Image from wagner-michael.com