Banknotes of the future?

There may come a time when banknotes will disappear altogether, but that time hasn’t come yet.

The criminal practice of counterfeiting money has existed as long as money itself, and current banknotes include as many as 50 anti-counterfeiting features.

Maybe that seems like a lot – and more than enough – but it obviously isn’t, since New Scientist reports that a team of German and japanese researchers are working on a way to insert electronic circuits into banknotes.

These circuits cannot be silicon-based, since the technology is to clunky to be incorporated into banknotes, so the researchers have been experimenting with gold, aluminium oxide and organic modules. Layer upon layer of these molecules is inserted, finally making a thin-film transistor capable – so far – of executing simple computing operations.

The process can be executed without damaging the fragile banknotes, and their hope is that one day, they will be able to use this method both as a anti-counterfeiting measure and to track the flow of banknotes.

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