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Someone’s Tax Dollars At Work

March 20, 2014

I note with some minor amusement that the UK is working hard on a new coin.

The UK is planning to introduce a new 12-sided £1 coin that it says will be the hardest in the world to fake. Pending approval, the dodecagonal prism will replace the current cylindrical design, and will feature a number of security measures to prevent counterfeiting. The Royal Mint, a government-owned company responsible for minting all the UK’s coins, says the new bi-metallic coin will be the first to integrate iSIS, a technology introduced last year with three layers of security.

So it’s a highly secure, and hard to counterfeit.  Vending machine, if built with a bunch of new technology, will be able to tell true from fake.  So, the UK is spending money building a better coin that will require other people to spend lots of money to verify that it’s a better coin.

Here’s my main question: Does anyone think that it’s broadly economically feasible to fake a one pound coin?  Maybe it’s me, but in the US the typical counterfeit is the $20 bill, because it at least generates a return for the investment required to do it.  And that’s a bill.  A coin is significantly harder to fake, requires a lot more resource, and is harder to do in volume.  So, um, they’re spending money to protect against a threat that doesn’t really exist?

Maybe I’m missing something, but I somehow think it’s not me.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2014 10:40 am

    My bet is that the “anti-forging” technology lets each coin be tracked through the system. Making it possible to track its issue and usage. Therefore drawing a bunch of coins out and going off the grid will still leave digital footprints. The UK already has more CCTV cameras per person than just about anywhere else: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8159141.stm

    • March 21, 2014 12:41 pm

      While I’m paranoid, I’m not that paranoid. Besides, if you want to go off the grid, are you going to do it with the equivalent of $1 coins? No, you’re going to do it in metals, or at least with reasonably-sized bills. I’m sticking with the fact that it’s just dumb, not sinister.

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