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Australia’s new futuristic $5 bill will be one of the hardest in the world to counterfeit

Australia may be in the world’s top 10 when it comes to cashless economies, but the population still conducts plenty of transactions using the ol’ paper bills.

So to make sure its cash continues to look modern and fresh, though more importantly to ensure it stays one step ahead of increasingly sophisticated counterfeiters, the Reserve Bank of Australia is starting the rollout of snazzy new bills, kicking off this week with the Aussie fiver.

As the video above shows, the new $5 bill, which went into circulation on Thursday, is feature packed, from its unusual top-to-bottom clear window to a “flying bird” that appears to flap its wings when you tilt the bill.

In addition, on the top right of one side, there’s a segment incorporating a “rolling color” effect when you move the money, and in the center the “5” reverses position when you turn the bill from side to side – all stuff guaranteed to give even the most determined counterfeiter a very serious headache.

“The new $5 banknote has a range of security features that have not previously been used on an Australian banknote and that will help to keep our banknotes secure against counterfeiting into the future,” bank governor Glenn Stevens said in a release.

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An additional feature, one designed to help blind people, is a tactile marking in the form of a raised bump on each of the long edges of the bill, making it easier to identify its precise value.

Stevens added that the new bills – other denominations are on the way – are “the culmination of many years of research and trial and extensive consultation with subject-matter experts and the cash-handling industry, as well as qualitative research involving focus groups.”

Australia has always been ahead of the pack when it comes to cash-related technology. In 1988 it became the first country to introduce “plastic” polymer bills, before switching completely to the material in 1996. It even uses its bill-making technology to supply cash to other economies around the world, turning money creation into a nice little earner for the nation’s Reserve Bank.