Canada unveils mesmerizing “polymer” money

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

The Bank of Canada is rolling out new, plastic-based $100 bills, which will hit the country's wallets by November.

In this frankly mesmerizing video, above, a narrator explains the bill's numerous security features, including a hidden circle of numbers that match the note's value. It can only be seen by holding up the "frosted maple leaf window" to a "single-point light source."

Gawker called it "currency erotica," joking that the "$100 bill bends seductively" in the video as the narrator's voice intones in the background.

But potential counterfeiters are presumably not laughing. The Globe and Mail says the bills "will be nearly impossible to fake." Between 2001 and 2004 a "rash of fraud" increased the number of counterfeit bills in Canada to 470 per million, causing some retailers to say they would not accept $100 bills. Half of all transactions in the country are still in cash, according the paper.

The Bank will be unveiling $50 and $20 polymer notes next year.

"The new bills will last at least two and a half times longer than cotton-based banknote paper, and after being removed from circulation, for the first time in Canada, they will be recycled into other products," the Bank's Governor mark Carney said, according to the Digital Journal. "Safer, cheaper, greener: these new banknotes are a 21st Century achievement in which all Canadians can take pride, and in which all Canadians can place their confidence."

The U.S. unveiled new $100 bills last year that featured a "3-D Security Ribbon" and an image of a bell that changes colors when tilted. The bill also features a "microprinted mobile image" that moves up and down when the bill is moved side to side.