Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Useful banknotes

More use than ornament
  (+7, -2)
(+7, -2)
  [vote for,

Banknotes would be more difficult to forge and generally good if they had uses beyond just being bits of paper. With the advent of various new materials, this is more plausible than in the past. I propose the following, from lowest to highest denomination:

A: An edible face flannel containing antimicrobial substances. Can be used as a towel (in the Douglas Adams sense but smaller), as a source of nutrition or as an antibiotic and antifungal. You can eat it, use it to clear up spills, minor infections, athlete's foot, blow your nose with it and even dry yourself off with it if it still seems clean enough.

B: A timepiece. It contains thin, flexible digital electronics and a digital display, is solar-powered, and can tell you the date and time. Difficult to forge because the electronics are complex and fiddly to make. From this note upwards, the whole surface of the note is a display and solar-powered.

C: A calculator and currency convertor.

D: A mobile 'phone, radio and translator.

E: Unfolds into a rainhat which tessellates with others to form an umbrella, raincoat or tent.

nineteenthly, Nov 04 2008


       Useful banknote # F: "Don't press the alarm button and hand over all the cash in your drawer."
theGem, Nov 04 2008

       Oh yes, good one.
nineteenthly, Nov 05 2008

       I heard they can rolled up into expedient straws and used to finish of, for example, one's milkshake.
zen_tom, Nov 05 2008


//even dry yourself off with it if it still seems clean enough//

       For those times when you don't have a square to spare.
ldischler, Nov 05 2008

       I see a loss of fungibility leading to irritating arbitrage opportunities for irritating people with nothing better to do [-]. (Sorry, I'm irritable this evening).
pertinax, Nov 05 2008

       This would cause your currency to be less resistant to inflation by making it more likely that the value of a banknote in monetary terms (i.e. the number printed on it) will fall below its intrinsic value (i.e. the value people place on, for example, a solar-powered radio). Once this point is reached banknotes will drop out of circulation, hindering trade and causing a sort of economic constipation.
hippo, Nov 05 2008

       I can see a problem with a half-eaten banknote, certainly, or for that matter eating one covered in snot, but they could be weighed and counted. Incidentally, the mobile 'phone thing would require user profiles.
[Pertinax], yes, i can see that would happen but economics does my head in. Also, pound coins are clearly made of chocolate.
They could be made perishable: the edible notes could go off, the waterproof ones develop leaks and so on.
nineteenthly, Nov 05 2008

       Re [hippo]'s point - I'm not so sure this would drive inflation - I'd have thought the opposite, since putting a unit of currency to 'use' exposes it to stresses and strains it might not otherwise experience, limiting its fungibility (love that word) over time - natural erosion of currency out in the wild causes interchangeable monetary supply to decrease, increasing the net overall value of the remaining cash. There would need to be strict rules on what was and what wasn't acceptable tender - which leads me to a question: If you tear a banknote in half, does that render it null and void should you later repair it using sticky tape? Or how about if you draw a line with permanent-marker through the identification number? Or dip it in red ink? At what point does a banknote lose its tradability?   

       And yes, perishable cash does have its advantages - at least for banks and other institutions who manage 'cash' in notional forms.
zen_tom, Nov 05 2008

       Lovely. I would like to see this happen if only so that I can witness the newsreaders discussing the spending slowdown in terms of hippo's //economic constipation//. Such an economic downturn could shoorly be rectified by means of the increased production of less gimmicky and therefore more "fibrous" currency - financial All-Bran, if you will, which will pass through each consumer/spender with greater ease and speed, leaving everyone much relieved.
calum, Nov 05 2008

       F. Roll up into a tube and use to inhale powdered substances in order to alter one's mental state.
neelandan, Nov 05 2008

       Bargain. A lesser man would have spread these five notes over five different ideas.
wagster, Nov 05 2008

       I've now decided that notes A, C and E should be triangular, note B should be square and note D should be pentagonal, so that when you've got twelve...
nineteenthly, Nov 05 2008

       // F. Roll up into a tube and use to inhale powdered substances in order to alter one's mental state. // [neelandan]   

       That's baked or is it fried, as in "this is what your brain looks like on coke."
theGem, Nov 06 2008

       Make them like on Futurama, with an OLED display. Put the $300 bill in the coffee machine, buy your expensive coffee, get the bill back, watch it become a $297 bill right before your eyes.
Bukkakinator, Nov 06 2008

       //newer, better, Australian technology//

Now there's a very irritating combination of words.
DrBob, Nov 06 2008

       //Isle of Mann//sp. "Man"
coprocephalous, Nov 06 2008


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