Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Authorized Banknote Disposal

Grind banknotes and report them to the treasury department.
  [vote for,

The next time you are hosting an event where large amounts of cash accumulate, you don't need to hire security guards to transport it to a bank. Just use an authorized banknote disposal system.

You feed the bills into one end of the machine, where they are scanned front and back. The image is processed to retrieve the bill's serial number and amount, and the data is stored.

The bill is then shredded. The shreddings can be weighed and measured, internally, as a further check on accuracy.

At the end of the day, your account is credited with the amount of the shredded money. Unless, of course, any of the serial numbers ever appear in circulation again ...

baconbrain, May 04 2013


       I think this would go wrong. No idea why, but it would. I mean, it's kind of fated to because either it'd get hacked so people could pretend to have received loads of money or it'd send the wrong signal to the bank because of bad wiring or something and you'd lose millions. I still like the idea though.
nineteenthly, May 05 2013

       This is not a bad idea, as ideas go.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 05 2013

       As it happens, i had a similar idea some time back but haven't posted it as it seemed to have a nebulous security problem. Presumably it could be a combination of whatever algorithm makes banknotes unscannable and whatever enables one to make payments securely online but i've not got further than that. It means that the inks, paper and metal would be available to the public, so maybe they'd have to be incinerated after or in shredding's stead.
nineteenthly, May 06 2013

       Hmm, you didn't invent Bitcoins as well, did you?
not_morrison_rm, May 06 2013

       Really it's no different to what a bank already does.   

       Perhaps consider the machine a kind of autonomous mobile bank. It could have an ATM on the other end for customers to withdraw cash from.
pocmloc, May 06 2013

       The difference between it and a bank is a little similar to the difference between a banknote and a perfect forgery of a banknote. A perfectly forged note would still be a forgery as it wouldn't be backed by the bank. A perfectly destroyed and recorded note is a real note but there's many a slip. How are you going to get the machine to work out what's a real note and what's not? It seems to me that the problem is authority. It places a lot of trust in the user. A primitive version of this would accept photocopied notes, for instance. A less primitive version would want the hologrammy things and wires, weigh the note and so forth. A perfect version would cost so much that you wouldn't have any notes left to put in it.   

       Regarding serial numbers, just wondering - are they consecutive or do they work in some other way? If they were consecutive, they'd be easier to fake. Come to think of it, would these devices need to communicate with each other for security purposes?
nineteenthly, May 06 2013

       With regards to forgery, there are plenty of machines which take banknotes for payment (for example, of exorbitant parking charges). I believe (but am not sure) that there are also bank machines which allow you to pay cash in. So, presumably, forgeries can be identified with enough accuracy to make the problem manageable.   

       The machine would have to be a sealed tamperproof unit, to ensure that nobody could bypass the shredder and recover the "destroyed" notes.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 06 2013

       [19th], of course I see that. but if both the real banknote and the claimed "forgery" are officially issued by the bank, and are otherwise indistinguishable, then what?   

       This device would as a matter of course be in constant secure communication with the bank systems, and its gobbling up digesting and spewing out of money would all be official and accounted for by the bank systems.
pocmloc, May 06 2013

       If it's of any help, you may like to know that behavioural scientists at Anglia Ruskin University have shown that pigeons can be trained to pick real banknotes out from amongst a collection of forgeries, and they're better at it than either banknote scanners (as used in payment machines) or most humans.   

       If this discovery can be transferred to hamsters, then problem solved.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 06 2013

       Paying in machines are in banks rather than private homes, where they're relatively immune to tampering. I'm open to the idea that this might work, but i think if it does, it will be very expensive.
nineteenthly, May 06 2013

       //Surely you mean parrots.//   

       No, I'm pretty sure it was Anglia Ruskin University.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 06 2013

       I think it was peanuts not banknotes that the pigeons were able to pick out.
pocmloc, May 06 2013

       The embedded explosive can have a resistance corresponding by a mathematical formula to its serial number. If the serial number and resistance don't add up, no trade.
Voice, Mar 21 2015

       I worked for a company that made cash counting and sorting machines and there was a certified destruct option available on the larger machines that were usually bought by central banks. The machine would verify the note as genuine, sort it by denomination and then by quality within denomination. For the notes in the worst state, there was a secure shredding option that tallied the number of notes into the shredder and then turned them to near dust. The figures from these units would then be used by the central bank to assist with calculating how many new notes to print according to how they wanted to manage the money supply. These machines weren't cheap, costing £200,000-£500,000 back in the mid 1990s. They also took a while to install and commission with new software and detectors required when notes changed.
oneoffdave, Mar 24 2015

       It seems a shame to destroy all the fancy gubbins (do I use that term correctly? British slang I suspect) embedded in the new notes.   

       Better would be an on call courier drone to ferry your notes to the bank. But then there would be pirate drones to intercept these returning cash laden drones. Decoy drones loaded with traceable notes to find the location of the pirate castle. Netguns and consequent need for high altitude. Drone helium airbags to avoid capture by EMP airburst shells. All of that.
bungston, Mar 24 2015


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