– New pound coin ‘most secure coin in world’ ?
– New British £1 coins much harder to counterfeit
– Pound coin uses “secret” cutting edge technology
– Coins uses ‘iSIS’ technology which may involve RFID tags
– Central banks, governments may be able to track coins
– Libertarians and privacy advocates will have concerns
– “Secure coin” yes but real risk is that savings not secure due to currency debasement
– Now new risk to bank deposits as all digital wealth exposed to hacking and cyber fraud
– Sound as a pound? Safer to stick with true “coin of the realm”
– Gold and silver Sovereigns and Britannias (VAT and CGT free) are only truly secure coins
The UK launched what is being touted as the “most secure coin in the world” yesterday – the day before Brexit day.
People have reacted with mixed emotions regarding the introduction of the newly designed pound coin which entered circulation yesterday. The new coins have been created using “cutting edge technology” by the Royal Mint
The new 12-sided coin will replace the current one, which has been in use for three decades. The current pound coin will remain legal tender alongside the new coin for just over six months until 15 October this year, after which retailers are under no obligation to accept it.
The pound coin will be harder to counterfeit. In May 2015, a survey by the Royal Mint found that some 2.5% of pound coins had been faked.
As we told Fox News SciTech correspondent James Rogers yesterday:
“The coin’s many anti-counterfeiting features are interesting and they sound like they will be quite effective. High quality forgeries can be made of most coins these days but it will be very expensive for forgers to try and mint such high quality coins that will fool the authorities.
A few coins might be “passed off” and fool the public or retailers but it would likely be few and given the degree of work and very high cost involved, it likely would not be worth the intense effort.”
The hidden high-security feature which is built into the coin itself is a well kept secret. Informed speculation is that it is some form of physical layer within the coin itself which will allow the coins to be scanned and verified in order to find fakes.
This may involve radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology which uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track objects including coins which have been tagged. The tags contain electronically stored information.
It has been reported that the coin has Integrated Secure Identification Systems (iSIS) technology which was previously only available in paper bank notes.
However, there is confusion and different reporting regarding whether Integrated Secure Identification Systems (iSIS) is a technology developed by the Royal Mint or whether it is a security technology company or both.
The Independent reported yesterday that:
The Government has employed a security technology company called Integrated Secure Identification System (iSIS) to fit the new coins with a special plating that can contain electromagnetic signatures. It’s also said to be especially hard to remove.
However there is some confusion about this as nearly exactly a year ago The Mirror reported that the Royal Mint themselves had been forced to change the name of the hi-tech security feature – ‘ISIS’ – in the new £1 coin. They said that it was an “unfortunate coincidence”, that Integrated Secure Identification Systems shares an acronym with the terrorist group.
It is believed that the iSIS technology can be inserted as a physical security layer within each coin. This mean that thousands of coins could be scanned and verified for authenticity within seconds.
This means that central banks and governments may have valuable data in terms of being able to track the coins and currency in real time and see the ‘flow’ of capital. Libertarians and privacy advocates would have concerns about this as in the hands of a totalitarian government, such technology could be abused.
The security features likely mean that it is more attractive for criminals to attempt to counterfeit more high value paper bank notes such as £100 bank notes, $100 dollar bills and the €500 euro notes which are being phased out by the end of 2018.
In this digital age, where currency is increasingly digital and we move towards a cashless society, the real threat comes from more serious tech savvy criminals in the form of the hackers who are increasingly focusing on hacking computers, iphones and ipads in order to raid bank, brokerage accounts and other forms of digital wealth including digital bullion vault platforms.
In a world where the New York Federal Reserve can be hacked and have over $100 million dollars stolen as happened to some foreign exchange reserves of the central bank of Bangladesh… few online accounts are completely safe.
Individuals, companies and nations need to be aware of, cautious of and pro active about such risks. Cyber criminality is a real risk to the wealth of people and indeed nations.
A far greater risk than a few fake pound, euro or dollar coins or indeed bank notes.
Finally, the new pound coin may be “the most secure coin in the world.” However, given Brexit, the pound sterling alas is unlikely to be the most secure currency in the world.
Gold in sterling terms surged over 30% in 2016 and the pound is likely to see further weakness in 2017 due to Brexit concerns.
In a world where currencies continue to be debased to quite a significant degree, to talk about a ‘secure’ coin or paper currency which can be minted or printed at will seems like a bit of an oxymoron.
Legal tender coins and paper notes are very difficult to forge today, however central banks can create them at will and in the process debase the coinage, notes and electronic currency and devalue our currencies and savings.
It is interesting that the new pound coins have kept the traditional gold and silver colours and have the look of gold and silver coins. They are bimetallic and actually made of two base metals. The gold-colour is on the outer ring is nickel-brass and the silver colour on the inner ring is nickel-plated alloy.
Human beings instinctually realise the rarity and intrinsic value of gold and silver and therefore trust gold and silver coins or even debased coinage that looks like gold and silver coins.
Classic currency debasement continues and underlines the importance of being diversified and having an allocation to physical gold and silver coins and bars.
The new pound is not as ‘sound as a pound’. Far safer for savers to own true “coin of the realm” which are legal tender bullion coins.
Gold and Silver Bullion – News and Commentary
Gold Prices (LBMA AM)
29 Mar: USD 1,252.90, GBP 1,007.71 & EUR 1,161.19 per ounce
28 Mar: USD 1,253.65, GBP 996.15 & EUR 1,154.49 per ounce
27 Mar: USD 1,256.90, GBP 1,000.49 & EUR 1,157.86 per ounce
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22 Mar: USD 1,246.10, GBP 999.50 & EUR 1,154.76 per ounce
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Silver Prices (LBMA)
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