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

Alejandro Dubrovsky alito at organicrobot.com
Mon Feb 23 06:48:55 UTC 2004

On Sun, 2004-02-22 at 12:20, Christian Weisgerber wrote:

> While much of the current counterfeit money that enters circulation
> may still not stand up to closer inspection by a layman, the best
> of the crop here in Europe is now in practice indistinguishable
> from genuine money.  Of course experts can still recognize the
> forgeries, but consumers, merchants, and banktellers cannot.  The
> problem isn't so much creating enhanced security features that are
> hard to duplicate, as it is creating features that can still be
> readily verified with the plain old human sensorium.  We're at the
> end of the road here.

If bank tellers can't tell them apart, it's probably just because
counterfeits are rare enough not to be taken seriously.  While at some
point in the future, cash will become cheaply/perfectly forged, current
methods are likely to be expensive and non-perfect, and therefore with
circulating volumes << real currency so noone will care (collective
effect of counterfeit money just being a devaluation of the currency by
fraction fake/real).  If these operations up their output, banks notice
and tellers are just trained to tell those specific fakes apart, or
devices are made to distinguish them  (this is something you shouldn't
forget, btw.  When human vision isn't enough, cheap distinguishing
devices proliferate), at which point the population in general starts
taking notice, and the value of the fake drops, so the operations have
some motivation to keep outputs low (it is also, of course, much easier
to launder small amounts).  If the fake is too good to distinguish
easily by bank tellers with , the notes are slightly modified to make
them harder to make.   This cycle has been going on for a while, and
_current_ faking technology doesn't change the cycle.  

Also, jumping to plastic money (like Australia's been using for a decade
or so) makes the entry point much higher, and the ROI lower.

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