It’s just paper.

“4 die in Cash-in-Transit heist”. The headlines regularly scream out their gruesome messages. Heavily armed gangs of up to 20 members, driving stolen cars and toting automatic weapons, hunt down armoured trucks ferrying cash to banks, sometimes burning the occupants alive when they refuse to open the doors. Welcome to South Africa, home of the 2010 World Cup.

Is this necessary? We spend billions annually protecting and transporting mere pieces of paper. Many, many people, security guards, policemen and the scum who prey on them, lose their lives becuase of this PAPER. Isn’t it obvious that we need a re-think here? If it were gold or diamonds or precious stones or weapons or something of value, but PAPER !!

Let’s accept for a minute that it is absolutely necessary to transport this paper. (although I’m still not convinced) What can we do to make it so useless to anyone eccept the rightful owner, that we could transport it in a plastic bag on the back seat of a car?

Seen one of these before? counter.JPG

Of course you have. It’s a banknote counting machine, and all of the banks have them.

Now let’s modify this machine. Let’s add a scanner function to read serial numbers. Let’s add a USB port and cable it to your PC. Let’s also add a smart card reader and writer. Ok, here we go !!

Let’s pretend that you have a medium-sized supermarket (like 7-Eleven, hello Rob !!) You establish a secure connection to your bank. You log on, and choose a menu item called scan and upload. It instructs you to start the upload. You take a bunch of R200 notes and put them through the machine. They are counted and scanned, and the number appears both on the machine and your computer screen. you repeat for the R100 notes, R50’s etc. The system collates all of the notes and displays the total deposit on the screen. You can print out a batch report with all of the details of the transaction and pack it together with the notes, and send it to the bank.

But hello, what’s this? The notes have all changed colour !!! The card reader/writer in the machine has sent a signal to the microscopic smart card imbedded in the note as it was counted and it has changed colour !!! Just pop the notes in a bag and let granny take it to the bank in her Ford Fiesta. These notes are now really just paper and are absolutely useless to anyone but the bank.

The bank, on the other hand, has a “pending deposit” from you. All they need is the “blanks” When granny arrives at the bank, they enter the transaction number on the summary sheet, put the blanks through their machine, and the procedure is reversed.

If granny mislays the plastic bag, you’ll pay a small administration fee and have to wait, say 7 days. Thereafter the deposit will be confirmed, the blanks blacklisted so that no bank will accept them, and you get on with your life. Nobody, except your bank, with your activation PIN can re-activate these blanks.

But remember, you heard it first from Synaptoman.

Quotation of the day.

The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket.

Kin Hubbard 1868 – 1930


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