The Bundesbank (German Federal Bank) released a new counterfeiting report as banks are planning to introduce the new 50 euro notes in the European Union.
According to the new study, it had been quite worthwhile for criminals to counterfeit the 50 euro banknote since the bill was quite easy to copy and press, and additionally, criminals didn’t have a hard time putting the 50s into circulation. The German Federal Bank reported that the 50 euro note is by far the most frequently counterfeited denomination. According to the Bundesbank, almost 50,000 fake bills were discovered in 2016, which takes the 50 to the first place in counterfeiting, with a share of just over 60 percent. Additionally, even among legit notes, the 50 euro bill is ranked first. The Bundesbank reported that with eight billion copies, it is the most frequently used denomination in the Euro Zone.
However, the days of the old 50 euro note are nevertheless counted. A new note of the so-called Europa series will be put into circulation on next Tuesday in all 19 member states of the Euro Zone. In the middle of March, the new fifties were presented to the public for the first time with more powerful colors, an emerald green number, and a transparent window, in which a portrait of the mythological figure “Europe” appears on both sides of the currency note in the right light. This certificate complements the new 5 Euro, 10 Euro and 20 Euro banknotes, which had been already introduced earlier.
Despite the new 50 euro bills, the old ones remain valid for a time. However, according to the experiences so far, the new denomination will soon find its way into the purse of the German citizens, experts of the Bundesbank claimed. When the previous denominations were introduced, it took between two and three months in Germany until more new banknotes were in circulation than those of the old series. The older ones are gradually withdrawn from circulation, according to the Bundesbank. The German Federal Bank reported that the initial number of the new bills should be 5.4 billion pieces weighing 5,400 tons. The cost of the new notes should be about 10 cents per piece, so far it was 6 to 8 cents.
According to the experts, the new 50 euro notes are considered to be particularly counterfeit-proof. This also underscores the falling number of the bills compared to the other coinages, which have already been renewed, the Bundesbank reported. However, since the old bills remained valid, the counterfeiters will not have to try to falsify the new fifties but could continue to rely on the old counterfeits. The analysts claim that the number of counterfeit old 50 euro notes will decrease, as time passes and the new fifties will have more share in the economy than the old ones.
“But who knows exactly what the old one looked like in a few years?” a writer of the German news outlet faz.net asked theoretically.
People would think if so large number of counterfeit 50 euro bills are in circulation, where can they purchase it? According to the Bundesbank’s report, the fake euro bills are up for sale at “somewhere in the intertwined channels of the internet where almost everything can be found – even what you should not even look for”. The German Federal Bank obviously was referring to the dark side of the internet, and to the dark web forums and marketplaces. According to their research, a 50 euro bill sold on a darknet marketplace costs about 1.90 euros.
“Anyone who imitates or distorts banknotes, or imitates or falsifies himself and puts into circulation, is punished with imprisonment of two years.” This could be read on the old Deutsche Mark (or D-Mark) notes, just before Germany switched to the euro in the case of the national currency. However, this statement is no longer true for the euro notes – old and new. Although, trading with counterfeit 50 euro notes has not become less punishable.