plastic cash!

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From: floorpie (
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 18:28:13 PDT

I find it odd that I find plastic odd, and not paper.

Brazil launches plastic money to celebrate 500 years

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil commemorated on Monday 500 years since the arrival of the first Portuguese settlers by adopting the latest high-tech materials for its money -- plastic.

Following in the footsteps of 13 other countries, Central Bank officials said they would issue a new 10-real bill ($5.5) made of plastic, saying it will be a cheaper, more durable and safer note than paper money.

``It made sense to launch a note commemorating our 500 years,'' Central Bank chief Arminio Fraga said during a ceremony launching the new note. ``But it also gives us a chance to test something that seems like a good idea, which is the new material.''

A special type of tough, polymer plastic was used to make the note. The material makes it possible to use the latest security devices and thereby reducing the possibility of falsification.

The notes feel slippery and are hard to fold. According to the Central Bank they should have a lifetime of four times the average 15-month longevity of paper notes, something the bank estimates should save the government 33.6 million reais over four years.

Advanced printing using computer graphics which slightly raises the print and creates tiny letters adds to the note's security.

If the four-year test period is successful, the Central Bank may overhaul all notes in circulation, replacing all denominations with the new plastic bills. Brazil has notes of one real, five reais, ten reais, 50 reais and 100 reais.

Australia was the first country to adopt plastic money, launching its new, polymer note in 1988. Australia's launch marked that country's 200-year anniversary as an independent state.

The material being used by Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, is being imported from Australia and the Central Bank wants to issue 250 million 10-real notes over two years.

The notes carry images of Pedro Cabral, the Portuguese navigator who first arrived in Brazil, and pictures of the multitude of different races that make up this cultural melting pot of 165 million people.

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