UK’s new 12-sided coin most secure in the world

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

UK coin from side
A side shot of the high-tech coin.

What has 12 sides and is impossible to copy? The UK’s new mega coin! The British pound, which is like their version of the dollar, will have a new high-tech £1 issued by the government-owned Royal Mint company, featuring triple-layered security that even vending machines will be able to read. That way, dishonest people cannot create counterfeits (fake versions).

Over the centuries, governments around the world have advanced their minting, which is the process of creating official money – often with a historical figure etched on it like Abraham Lincoln. For instance, the US recently upgraded its $100 Benjamin Franklin bills with snazzy features like a super complex papery material that’s tough to reproduce, a color-shifting “100” that morphs from copper to green, and a three-dimensional blue security ribbon filled with images that seem to move at different angles.

Now, the UK is taking inspiration from the British “threepenny” that came out in the 1500s and was the first kind of coin to feature the face of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s current royal lady. According to the British Treasury, which is the government branch responsible for managing the country’s money, this coin will be the most secure coin in the world thanks to its high-tech advances. The £1 is about as wide as a US nickel, but two times as heavy, and will be colored in shades of gold and silver rather than the copper look of the old version.

How exactly the high-tech coin will avoid being counterfeited is being kept under wraps for now, but they’ll begin being introduced in 2017. It’s clear that the UK is taking its money security seriously in the high-tech age of hacking and increasingly devious criminals, as the Bank of England will also be replacing paper bills with plastic ones made of a material that can even survive harsh washing machines.

Images courtesy of The Royal Mint.