US launches new $100 banknote

Washington - The United States launches on Tuesday a new $100 bill that comes with, for the iconic greenback, a new touch of colour, as well as special features to foil counterfeiters.

In its first remake since 1969, the $100 banknote, which takes a key role in cash transactions worldwide, sports the traditional portrait of statesman Benjamin Franklin, a leader of the American Revolution, on the front and a picture of Philadelphia's Independence Hall on the back.

But it adds a yellowish "100" in one corner and, next to Franklin, a tan quill and bronze-colored inkwell that holds inside it the Philadelphia Liberty Bell in changing colors from darker brown to green, depending on the angle the note is held.

Cutting vertically through the middle of the banknote is a blue security ribbon that shows "100" and smaller Liberty Bells in darker blue, which appear to move as the note is shifted.

The new design comes primarily to fight the increasing sophistication of counterfeiters, Sonja Danburg, program manager in charge of currency education at the Federal Reserve, told AFP.

"It's our most global bank note. Between a half and two-thirds of them are circulating outside of the United States, and it's also the most counterfeited of US denominations outside of the United States," she said.

"We want to stay ahead of counterfeiting threats, we want to protect the public."

The new note hits the streets in the United States on Tuesday, and it will take some days before banks ship them to branches and counterparts around the world.

With some $900 billion of them still out on the market, and mostly abroad, Danburg stressed, the old $100 note will continue to be honored, with no time limit.

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