A lesson learnt from the history of money

Although this blog focuses mainly on latest technologies and accelerating race of innovations, it is sometimes useful to look back to the history. Our ancestors applied other technologies and procedures but can still learn from their mentality, basic strategy and development of protection of genuineness.

For example money. Money has been attacked by counterfeiters as nothing else. For centuries, fakers targeted coins. As the first banknotes appeared in the USA, they were targeted almost immediately. We try to divide the history of their counterfeit protection into three phases.

Banknotes and other state value documents were only papers with beautiful design and right texts. The look was the only priority for their producers. The manufacturers were not interested in the anti-counterfeit protection or identification of fakes. No protection elements were applied to ensure genuineness. Hunting fakers were the only protection.

The second phase. Banknotes or other government documents are the same but protection elements are added. Now we can call them primitive, but in times of early banknotes, tools such as leaf print or red ink printing were sufficient to deter counterfeiters.

Since that, more and more security elements have been added, more and more sophisticated. Naturally.

Now, looking at the most advanced banknotes, such as new British fiver, we can notice that the third phase has been entered. A mix of different protection elements creates a real core of the banknote, including its design. Everything else is just a supplement.

“Middle-level counterfeiters“ are thus pushed out of the game. Now it is impossible to print a banknote, replace protection elements with cheap imitations and hope that a victim will not see a difference. Protection elements are the very base of the banknote. Because costs of reasonable copying of protection elements are higher than the nominal value of a banknote, there is only space for low-cost fakes that can be identified by every careful user quite easily. It is confirmed by statistics of captured fakes.

It seems that ID documents industry follow the same development. Current ID cards consist primarily of chip and photograph, which are protection elements.

Premier brand producers still keep the historical attitude. Step one – designing, step two – adding protection elements, the cheaper, the better. On the other hand, it is evident that current strategies don’t work and that counterfeiters are winning against manufacturers of genuine products.

It is likely that brand designers will follow the strategy explained in the example of money, sooner or later. Cost is not the critical barrier. Insufficient understanding of technologies is the real barrier. The designers usually do not know what protection technologies exist, what are their visual possibilities, cost and anti-counterfeiting resistance. The will need to learn, for sure.

Optaglio helps through its products and services that include:

Continuous innovation and technological development to keep advantage against counterfeiters.

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