Canada: New Polymer Currency

Canada just recently introduced a new $100 banknote, made with a polymer substrate rather than paper. Its security features include two see-through windows. According to the Bank of Canada, you can “feel, look, and flip” to make sure the bill is real. The polymer bills can last much longer (up to two-and-a-half times longer) than … Continue reading

G&D and SmartCard/SIMcard Market

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute developed the GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communications, to standardize 2G cellular networks. The SIM card is a key feature of the GSM — it’s the vehicle for a Subscriber Identity Module that “stores network-specific information used to authenticate and identify subscribers on the network.” A SIM is embedded into … Continue reading

NYT: “Treasury Slows Its Presses”

Appelbaum, Binyamin. “As Plastic Reigns, the Treasury Slows its Printing Presses.” New York Times. 6 July 2011. The number of dollar bills rolling off the great government presses in Washington and in Fort Worth fell to a modern low in the last fiscal year. Production of $5 bills also dropped to the lowest level in 30 years. … Continue reading

Cashless Societies?

There exist many cashless mini-societies, like university campuses, hospitals, or resorts that use some sort of stored-value card setup to avoid much of the need for any cash to be carried around. Sweden is leading the way towards a fully cashless society — In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid … Continue reading

The End of Money

notes from David Wolman’s 2012 book The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers — and the Coming Cashless Society, and related articles. Although predictions about the end of cash are as old as credit cards, a number of developments are ganging up on physical money like never before: mistrust of national currencies novel payment tools … Continue reading

Cash or Credit?

The difference between cash transactions and non-cash transactions is palpable. Paying with physical banknotes feels like a legitimate trade — the cause-and-effect plays out before you. And this is how we are conditioned to experience monetary value: through this kind of transfer. Credit cards and other non-cash methods of payment lead to a different kind … Continue reading

Alternative Currencies

Alternative, (or private, or sovereign) currencies are currencies used as a viable alternative to the dominant national central-bank distributed currency. They are perfectly legal  in the United States as long as they don’t look like federal reserve notes and as long as they’re not called dollars. in the US, you’re not legally obligated to accept … Continue reading

Beyond Smartphones: Mobile Banking in Developing Countries

In 2010, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $500 million commitment to supporting technological advances in financial basics (Financial Services for the Poor program). Many of the initiatives that this program has been involved in have been for increased mobile banking — to make it possible for people to save their money, where … Continue reading

Quotes: Future of Money

Doug Crane, May 2012 “You look at a banknote, you sit there and you hold it. You know you’ve got it. It’s right there. I know how much I’ve got in my hand, and there’s a level of security to that, that you just don’t get with…If you say, well, how much is on my … Continue reading

Notes on Planet Money – “Where Dollar Bills Come From”

via Planet Money One kind of quality check– called a “fold test,” a machine folds a bill back and forth until it breaks. Currency paper lasts 5000 folds, normal paper lasts about 100. Company lore– pre-1879, USgov is using a non-Crane paper co. to get currency paper, decides that the 75cents/pound price is too expensive. … Continue reading

Contactless Payment

Contactless payment occurs, for all intents and purposes, in two forms: the smartcard and the smartphone. Contactless payment systems are credit cards and debit cards, key fobs, smartcards or other devices which use RFID for making secure payments. The embedded chip and antenna enable consumers to wave their card or fob over a reader at … Continue reading

Currency Security Technologies

Some definitions for technologies, processes, and other terms involved in the security printing industry. See here for the individual trademarked names that have been given to different proprietary versions of these technologies. The substrate is the material that is being printed on, typically paper. Overt security devices are meant to be easily seen by the naked eye; … Continue reading

Trademarked Currency Security Technologies

A long if not necessarily complete list. Crane: MOTION – “the new standard in optical security features,” “first micro-optic based material ever used in banknotes. MOTION images appear to move in a fascinating and counter-intuitive way, as if floating on a liquid surface. This striking effect is caused by a micro-lens array interacting with a … Continue reading