[extropy-chat] TECH: The future of cash?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sun Feb 22 21:17:12 UTC 2004

On Sun, Feb 22, 2004 at 11:20:33AM +0100, Erik Starck wrote:
> There has been some discussion on embedding euro notes with RFID tags to 
> identify them:
> http://www.eetimes.com/story/OEG20011219S0016
> but I don't know if it will ever become a reality. According to the 
> article they should be here next year, but that doesn't seem plausible.

There are multiple types of RFIDs, implemented in different technologies.
They're all passively pumped (either electromagnetically, or
electrostatically). Their intelligence, and hence price, varies a lot.

Carbon black antenna and a simple serial ID is very cheap. Polymer ink is
second cheapest, but probably need sealed polymer banknotes and can't implement
cryptographic authentication, currently. For now you need silicon microdies for that, and this
technology will thus be limited to multi-digit banknotes (500 EUR and
slightly below).

Microwaving the money is not a safe means to destroy the RFIDs. In near
future, polymer ink will become powerful enough to implement cryptographic
authentication. If this technology catches on, the RFID capability will
become the primary means of money authentication, so nuking RFIDs will be
penalized -- you'd have to prove your nuked cash stash isn't counterfeit.

Future of money? Micrograin digicash will be there, at some point. Given the
large incentive, probably black market digicash -- DRM hardware will make it
possible. We'll probably get RFID-tagged cash (and almost any artifact out
there worth tracking). Dead tree money (or plastic) will start to vanish at
some point.  

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144            http://www.leitl.org
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http://moleculardevices.org         http://nanomachines.net
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