Protecting the Monopoly

It’s time, once again, for Christopher Burg explains news articles without all the sugar coating. Today’s news article discusses the new $100 bill released by the Federal Reserve. The bill includes several new security features:

It includes a blue 3D security ribbon and a bell and inkwell logo that authorities say are particularly difficult to replicate.

These combine with traditional security features, such as a portrait watermark and an embedded security thread that glows pink under ultraviolet light.

The 2010 design was delayed because of “unexpected production challenges”.

The 3D security ribbon – which is woven into the note, not printed on it – features images of 100s that change into bells and move upwards or sideways depending on how you tilt the paper.

After discussing these new security features the article goes on to discuss counterfeiting, implying that these news security features are meant to prevent the production of counterfeit $100 bills. That implication is incorrect. What the news security features are meant to do is protect the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on counterfeiting $100 bills. You see, the Federal Reserve prints out money like it’s going out of style. It makes every other counterfeiter on the planet look like amateurs. Adding security features to $100 bills simple keeps the Federal Reserve ahead of the game and ensures that anybody wanting to compete with it faces larger barriers to entry.

Of course, if I was going to counterfeit money, I would simple focus on old bills. Why waste time counterfeiting new bills (other than fun) when you can just counterfeit old money and beat it up to look as old as the printed date implies?

One thought on “Protecting the Monopoly”

  1. Some of the most successful long term counterfeiters focused on the series 1995 and older bills given their still current status as legal tender, and just washed and dried them a few times.

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