In April of last year, the Treasury Department unveiled a high-tech new $100 bill featuring a 3-D security strip and a color-shifting bell that, the hope was, counterfeiters would be unable to convincingly reproduce. Preliminary indications are that the new $100 bill will indeed be pretty hard to fake, since the government itself is having a hard time figuring it out.
Because of a printing error, an unknown percentage of the first 1.1 billion bills printed are defective, and since 1.1 billion is a large number, it would take an estimated 20 to 30 years to sort through the bills by hand to separate the bad ones from the good ones, according to CNBC. So now the Treasury Department has to make a machine that can sort the bills, which, once this presently theoretical machine is up and running, should only take a year. Fortunately, each defective bill costs the government not $100 but 12 cents, since they are actually just pieces of paper our society collectively pretends are worth $100.