High-tech money -- redesigned $100 bill gets security features

Finally launching after production delays, the new Benjamin Franklin gets a 3D security ribbon and an image of the Liberty Bell that switches color from copper to green.

Federal Reserve

Come Tuesday, people should begin to see colorful newly redesigned $100 bills in circulation. This is good news for shops and businesses that need to verify the money and bad news for counterfeiters.

The Federal Reserve Board, which hasn't been shuttered in the government shutdown, announced that the new Benjamin Franklins will make their debut chockfull of security features -- most notably a blue 3D security ribbon and a color-changing image of the Liberty Bell.

The security ribbon is said to be easy for people to verify but difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. It's a blue ribbon woven into the paper and when people tilt the bill back and forth, they'll see images of bells change to "100s." When the bill is tilted back and forth, the bells and 100s move side to side.

"The 3-D security ribbon is magic. It is made up of hundreds of thousands of micro-lenses in each note," Bureau of Engraving and Printing Director Larry Felix told the Associated Press. "This is the most complex note the United States has ever produced."

The Liberty Bell image in the inkwell also changes as users handle the money. While looking at the inkwell, people should see an image of a green bell inside a copper-colored inkwell on the front of the bill. When the bill is tilted, the bell will change color from green to copper, which makes the image of the bell appear and disappear within the inkwell.

Some security features from the older $100 notes were also retained or updated, including the portrait watermark, security thread, color-shifting 100, raised printing, gold 100, serial numbers, and more.

The Federal Reserve has been working on the $100 bill redesign and security features for more than a decade. Its goal has been to create a bill that's more difficult to counterfeit. According to the Associated Press, the $100 bill is the most counterfeited note outside of the US.

The completed design was first unveiled in 2010, but production delays halted the actual release of the note until now. Besides the $100 bill, the government agency has also redesigned the $5, $10, and $20 notes. While banks and financial institutions can begin ordering the new $100 bills on Tuesday, it could take a few weeks until people actually see the money in person.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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